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An Easy Week

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUM! Live it up and have a fabulous day!

I was going to have a completely different post today (only Heather knows what I was really going to write about), but tonight fell apart. Actually, the whole day fell apart, and it all started out so well too. I got up early, took the puppy dogs to daycare, and got to cook at work! Our Community Outreach Team hosted dinner at Vanderbilt's Ronald McDonald House tonight, so I got to help prep veggies for the seven or eight pot roasts that cooked away in donated slow cookers during the day. What could be better? Well, after that things started to unravel. I spent the rest of the day putting out fires and pretty much getting nothing done, which is very bad when you have a laundry list of things to do. Then I got a call from Mike, who did not get home from work till nine o'clock tonight, to find out that he had an even cruddier day. Needless to say, my house is a pretty unpleasant place right now, and the dinner I had planned did not get made.

On days like today, I need easy meals. Really easy meals. Thankfully, I had been saving some fancy-schmancy gourmet frozen (is "gourmet frozen" an oxymoron?) pasta. Italian meat tortellini. Tortellini of any kind is great because all you have to do it boil some water, drop the tortellini in for a few minutes--I do seven minutes for frozen tortellini--and then cover it with a sauce. Here is my recipe for my go-to, healthy pasta sauce.

Five-Minute Pesto For One
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 serving of hot, cooked pasta

Pour the oil into the bottom of a bowl. This will be the same bowl you eat your pasta out of. Your minced garlic goes in next, followed by your Italian seasoning. Drop your pasta over everything and combine gently until well mixed.

*If you want to use fresh herbs, you can simply tear basil leaves into the mix. I don't generally have fresh herbs on hand on nights like this.

I realize that most pesto sauces have pine nuts in them, and you're welcome to add them, but I do not. You can also add salt and pepper if you want, but, again, this is how I like it. One clove of garlic is all the kick I need. The heat of garlic is pretty much the only kind of spice-heat I like. It's not capsaicin heat (the stuff that makes peppers fiery), it's something else and I love it. Mike actually has to ask me to scale back the garlic in some of my custom dishes. Mix a little spinach with it and you have a one-dish meal. Trust me, this might be the quickest dinnertime fix there is, and it is really good in not a lot of time.

Mike and I had a date night last Saturday, so I made a fabulous steak dinner based on this Rachael Ray meal. I made a really simple dessert, though, that I think would be a great dish to make with your kids.

S'more Pudding

Following the directions on the box, mix up a package of instant chocolate pudding. Pull out some mini marshmallows and mix them in with the chocolate pudding.

Note: The marshmallows will lose some structural integrity after a while in the pudding, so wait to do this until just before serving if you're worried about mushy marshmallows. Personally, I like texture; it's like bits of marshmallow mousse.

Serve your pudding in fancy glasses--Heather actually gave us these martini glasses a few Christmases ago :-)--and top with crumbled graham crackers. Finally, garnish with half a graham cracker and some more mini marshmallows. Graham crackers are really fun to use as scoops to get all the s'more goodness in one bite.

I hope you and your family enjoy this easy, fun, fancy dessert.

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