Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tortellini and Garden Vegetable Bake + Organizing Your Day

I love my job for so many reasons.  One random reason is we get fun freebies.  I had the pleasure of dragging home today a few boxes of pasta, 80 fancy toothbrushes, 2 plastic tablecloths, 3 sand pails and shovels, 4 new serving trays and painters tape.
Random indeed!

Tonight's dinner is a casserole that was pretty good.  I found it online and sent it over to my inlaws twice and they loved it. Finally getting around to trying it myself!

10 ounces dried cheese-filled tortellini (2-1/2 cups) or two 9-ounce packages refrigerated tortellini
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
1 8 ounce package cream cheese or light cream cheese (Neufchatel), cubed and softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 small red or green sweet pepper, coarsely chopped (I would probably leave this out next time)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions, adding the carrot during the last 5 minutes of cooking and the sugar snap peas during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a 12-inch skillet.

Add chicken and mushrooms, and cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet.

Shake together chicken broth, oregano, flour, garlic salt, and pepper in a screw-top jar until smooth.

Add to skillet along with milk.

Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; add cream cheese.

Cook and stir until cream cheese is smooth.

Remove from heat.

Stir in lemon juice.

Add pasta mixture, chicken mixture, tomatoes, and sweet pepper. Toss to coat.

Turn into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking dish or shallow 3-quart casserole.

Bake, covered, in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.

Stir mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
I like that this had protein and lots of vegetables and was fairly easy to throw together.

Get It Done Tip: Every parent working or not has a million things that need to get done every day.  Every now and again I pause to look at my routine and see if it makes more sense to reshuffle how and when I get things done.

For example, do I really need to go through the mail, fold laundry, write this blog post, (insert anything) instead of spending time with my kids?  Um, no. There is nothing more important to me than enjoying my kids when I am not working.  Therefore I make it a priority to do as many things as possible after they are in bed or when I have down time (aka my train ride to/from work!). 

On the train I will go through paperwork for school, catalogs, magazines, meal plan, etc.  At home when they are sleeping I wrap gifts, mail cards, prep dinner for the next day, clean up. I also try to streamline these activities to one night a week or condense them to once a month so I don't feel like I have to do something every night.

Starting next weekend I am again making a change to my routine. I love, love, love to cook, but have noticed it's taking up too much time on Sunday.  Therefore I am going to change it up. Every Sunday I make fresh, healthy muffins or breads for the week for breakfast/snack food for the kids.  It makes me feel good that my kids are eating healthy food I make so I won't compromise on that and buy pre-packaged goods.  That said, I now am going to try to do the baking during the evening when they are in bed and do a double batch to freeze so I get a week "off".  I would love to do a quadruple batch but my freezer sucks on space!

Also I usually make something a little more involved for Monday dinner since I know I have time to prep it Sunday. Instead now I am going to look to either do a crock pot meal or something super simple I can make the night before.  

Let's see how it goes!

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