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Quick and easy dinner even for an expecting mom with toddler

January 15, 2018
By Lauren Kudlawiec - For Mirror Moms , Mirror Moms

Expecting my second baby in February has proven to be both exciting and exhausting. My first pregnancy wasn't without its challenges; however, this time around seems much more difficult.

My symptoms have been very similar, but just more frequent and intense. I believe the added responsibilities of already being a mom, especially to a very busy toddler boy, has also increased my levels of shear tiredness. And yes, I do realize I will be even more tired when the baby arrives.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be adding another baby to our family. When my son points to my belly, smiles and says "baby!" nothing makes me feel more blessed. It just gets challenging completing my "mom" tasks each day when the last thing I want to do is cart my son through the store shopping for dozens of dinner ingredients and ending the evening with sink full of dishes. I'm sure many of you can relate!

I love to search Pinterest for quick meal ideas, now more than ever. These past few months have added the trial of not only pleasing my husband and picky son, but also finding something that appeals to my frequently upset stomach.

I came upon a recipe from the Mother Thyme blog for a taco-style pasta recently. I've made it four times now, tweaking it a bit each time depending on what I have on hand. It's a hit every time in our family. What I really love about this dish is that you can keep the ingredients on hand at all times (including the snap peas if you opt for the frozen steam-in-a-bag version) for the days when your refrigerator is looking bare. Get ready for a 20 minute meal you will love!

Cowboy Pasta with Steamed Snap Peas

Total Time: 20-22 minutes

Servings: 5

Ingredients

1-pound lean ground beef, 93/7 ratio preferably

Salt and black pepper to season

1-ounce package of mild taco seasoning

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

15.5-ounce jar mild salsa, such as Tostitos

8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta or elbow macaroni

1 1/4 cups shredded Mexican cheese (cheddar and Italian blend substitute well)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

(optional)

16 ounces fresh sugar snap peas

1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in the taco seasoning to coat. Add the chicken broth, water, salsa and pasta and combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer 13-15 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Avoid the temptation to lift the lid frequently, as this allows steam to escape and the pasta to eventually burn. Only stir with a couple of minutes left to determine if an extra cup of liquid is needed. When pasta is fully cooked, remove from heat and stir in cheese and parsley. Serve immediately with snap peas.

For the Snap Peas: Place snap peas in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Add 1 tablespoon water. Microwave 2 1/2 minutes, remove cover and drain out excess water. Stir in butter and season with salt and black pepper before serving.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 543

Total Fat: 19.5 grams

Saturated Fat: 10.9 grams

Sodium: 1,595.2 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 48.0 grams

Fiber: 6.9 grams

Sugar: 11.0 grams

Protein: 36.8 grams

Cholesterol: 88.2 milligrams

Lauren Kudlawiec is the author of Cooking with Lauren K, a cookbook featuring healthy and affordable meals. Books are available on her website laurenkcooking.com or at the Altoona Mirror building. She teaches at Penn Cambria High School and lives in Ebensburg with her husband and son.

 
 

 

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