One of my favorite childhood activities of all time: building forts.
I hope you know what I’m talking about. A minimum of about 6 blankets, strewn across your room haphazardly to create the perfect location for secret society meetings or some other important business.
I’m not sure whether this technically qualifies as a “throwback” to the 90′s, but I can tell you this. When my niece and nephew want to build a fort these days, they have no idea what they’re doing. They enlist help from grown-ups. They don’t understand the delicate art to finding something heavy enough to hold the blanket but not so heavy that
if when it falls, it hurts.
Kids these days. Too much Wii and not enough fort building if you ask me.
I sound like an 85 year-old woman.
Work it Out
Moving on to my workout yesterday. It was a day off from cardio for me, so after work, I drove home to do Week 4 of Ripped in 30. Since I didn’t warm up with cardio first, the first circuit wasn’t too bad. But by the time things got rolling in the second circuit, this workout was just as difficult as it always is. I was equally sweaty and gross as if I’d ran 4 miles before doing it. I guess that’s a good thing?
After my workout, I showered and ran to the grocery store to grab some stuff for dinner. I saw a recipe for a baked spinach and artichoke lasagna that I wanted to adapt and healthify a bit. By the time I got home, it was quarter past 7 and I thought I’d bit off more than I could chew. Meaning I was starving and it was looking like I might not eat until 9pm.
But! This came together quicker than expected, and I was happily eating a giant serving by 8:30. Totally reasonable. Here’s the recipe!
Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta
Loosely adapted from Lauren’s Latest. Serves 6.
1 box of quinoa pasta (I used rotini)
1 cup grated, fat-free mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 24 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
for the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb of ground turkey
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. bag baby spinach
1 8.5 oz can drained and chopped artichoke hearts
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp softened cream cheese
1/2 cup of non-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt the water, and cook pasta according to package instructions. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, get started on your filling. Grab a large skillet and begin browning your turkey meat in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are softened and turkey is browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in spinach. After 1-2 minutes, it should be wilted. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and egg together until fully combined.
5. To assemble, spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Gather all of your ingredients.
6. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place a layer of cooked quinoa pasta across the bottom. Top with half the turkey/veggie filling, half the cheese filling, 1/4 cup mozzarella, and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat this pattern again: noodles, fillings, cheese, then sauce. Top with remaining noodles, remaining sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
7. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
8. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
The best part is, this pasta does not taste healthy or low calorie. My roommates confirmed it! They thought it was a normal, unhealthy, cheesy lasagna dish. I can’t wait to make this for my family one night, and surprise them later with how healthy it is!