Trying to Balance
I’ve been really off-balance these past few weeks. (Notice the longer time between these blog posts?) My daily routine has been changing so much and so fast that I’ve been having trouble keeping up with it all. Just trying to find some down-time for myself has been a challenge.
Because I’ve had to put myself in overdrive just to fit it all in, I notice that even when I do get some time to rest, my brain has trouble kicking in to a lower gear. Kind of like one of those spinning merry-go-round rides on a children’s playground, my mind keeps going over and over whatever it is that I’ve had to think about during the busy time. It takes quite awhile for it to spin slower and slower until I finally truly get it to rest. Even though I’m totally exhausted, I don’t sleep as well and then I wake during the night, which seems to be when it’s the most difficult to quiet my mind so I can get the sleep I need.
Then, I need to squeeze in making dinner for my family. I’m thankful for the time we get to catch up with each other at the table, but don’t want to spend much effort getting it there. Here is a nice, easy pasta recipe that doesn’t need anything other than a cold glass of milk to make it into a comforting family meal. Time to hop off the merry-go-round and ride on something more fun, like the teeter-totter, for awhile. I always liked those better anyway.
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (or lean ground turkey)
2 (26 oz.) jars marinara sauce
12 oz. shredded Italian cheese blend (mozzarella, smoked provolone, asiago, parmesan, romano and fontina cheeses)
1 ½ cups sour cream (reduced-fat type is fine)
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
You can use a store-bought marinara sauce or your favorite marinara recipe.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, but don’t rinse.
In a large skillet, brown meat with onion over medium heat. Add marinara sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with canola-oil spray. Layer as follows:
For vegetarians, you can leave out the meat and it will still make a satisfying meal.
½ of the ziti
½ of the Italian cheese blend
½ sauce mixture
other ½ of Italian cheese blend
remaining sauce mixture
Top with parmesan cheese
This is a lot like lasagna without the work of layering the long noodles, and without the ricotta cheese that my kids don’t like.
Bake for 30 minutes, until cheeses are melted. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Take a deep breath, and enjoy!