Read this for some weeknight meal inspiration

Cooking, as a concept, can be relatively challenging in itself. It requires time, effort, creativity and skill, to an extent; throw kiddos, school, after-school activities and work into the mix, and making a weeknight meal is less enticing than wrestling with a grizzly bear.

I don’t have children myself, but this is what I have gathered from friends and family who do.

A few nights ago, I made a pasta dish for Blaine and me. I didn’t have or use a recipe – I just sort of went with the flow and used up some items in our fridge. It ended up tasting quite good, and it hardly took any time to create. So, I thought I would describe this creation I made for all of you to the best of my ability in hopes of alleviating some of the stress associated with conjuring a balanced, hearty weeknight meal.

First, you’ll need some pasta. I used spaghetti noodles, but just about any type of pasta would work for this recipe. Get some water in a pot, throw some salt in, and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn your heat down to about medium and toss your pasta in, stirring it semi-regularly for the first five minutes or so to avoid having it stick to the bottom of your pot.

For protein, you can use whatever you so wish, or you can make this vegetarian if you desire. I used sausage and sauteed it in a pan with olive oil, minced garlic, onion, salt and pepper and a dash of steak spice. Chicken would work well, as would beef. I’m not entirely certain fish would be a suitable option for this dish, but you never know.

Cook your pasta and meat simultaneously. Once the pasta is al dente, strain it, leaving a bit of the pasta water in the bottom, and return it to your stovetop on medium heat. Once your protein is cooked through, throw it into the pot with your pasta. In the same pot you cooked your protein in, add some veggies and lightly sautee them, some suggestions being asparagus, spinach or mushrooms. Next, add more salt and pepper, more garlic, a healthy dollop of butter, and some crumbled cheese to your noodles. I used old cheddar, but I think most types of cheese would work. Let the cheese melt, toss it all together with your veggies, and voila; you have yourself a filling, balanced, quick weeknight meal.

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