"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans..... (My new favorite dinner!) + Strength Training

This dinner is my new favorite! I've made it a few times, but on this particular night I had done a hard workout in the late afternoon, and was STARVING by dinner time!! This meal is so satisfying, it has lots of great flavors, and different textures. It comes together really quickly, and other than slicing the onion, there's very little prep work involved.  You need to put this on your menu for the week!!!!!

I got the recipe from Eating Well's website, I love their stuff!! You can find the recipe here: Skillet Gnocchi

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 Tb plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 16 ounce package of shelf-stable gnocchi (gnocchi is a potato/pasta dumpling, you can find shelf stable gnocchi at Trader Joe's (I buy the whole wheat variety), Target (it's sold by the dried pasta) and most grocery stores (by the more "fancy" pasta on the shelf)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped chard leaves, or spinach (I've used both, this time I made it with spinach)
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed well (I used cannellini beans)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Monterey Jack cheese, I like the flavor better)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Here's the kind of gnocchi I buy- the whole wheat from Trader Joe's. It occurred to me recently that you may not have a Trader Joe's nearby to where you live. If that's the case, you should move.

......ok, just kidding. But I would be VERY sad if I couldn't go to Trader Joe's, they have great stuff!! Now if we could just get a Whole Foods........ I once had a dream that Wade told me he got a new job and I was telling him that I wouldn't move there if there was no Trader Joe's. He thinks that is SO ridiculous. But that's because he doesn't heart food as much as I do. :)

So you want to brown the gnocchi in a skillet, heat up the 1 Tb olive oil and cook the gnocchi until they sort of plump up and look browned. Then you're going to put them into a bowl while you cook the rest of the stuff.

After you remove the gnocchi, you want to cook the onion in the remaining olive oil. Cook the onion for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and the water, and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the chard or spinach, and cook until it wilts.

After the spinach wilts, add the tomatoes, beans, and pepper. Stir it all together, then bring to a simmer:

Then add in the gnocchi:

Then you want to sprinkle the cheeses over the whole thing. At this point, I turned off the burner and sort of let the cheese get all melty and delicious.

I served this with focaccia bread. Also, it tasted GREAT left over, so this would be an awesome thing to make ahead for lunches too!!

This last week, the sunrises were SO beautiful!! I caught one with a camera while I was waiting (impatiently) for my coffee to brew:

Oh, and I have to share a great tip I learned this week!!!!!! My coffee pot began shutting off in the middle of the brewing cycle (PANIC!!! CALL 911!!!!!!!!!!! COFFEE!!!!!!) ,and my aunt suggested running a pot of white vinegar through the coffee maker to clean off the mineral deposits from the heating element. I did that, then ran through two pots of water afterward. It TOTALLY fixed it!! I was thrilled, because I LOVE this coffee maker (it's a Cuisinart Brew Central) and they aren't cheap, I think Costco sells them for $59. So I was really pleased that something so simple worked!!

Lastly, an update on my strength training! It is going really well (other than my legs being sore when I run-those squats and lunges are killer!) I'll give you my exercises and the weight I am now able to do on each, then the reps. (Don't laugh, I have no muscles, so the weight isn't all that impressive yet...) Also, I did 3 push ups last week at one time- if you know me in real life, you know that is a FEAT! Ha ha!

  • Crunches (no weight)- 25, 20, 20
  • Bench Press 60lb- 10, 8, 6
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row 30lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pull down 60lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Tricep Push down V Bar 40lb- 10, 10, 8
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 20lb each side- 10, 8, 6
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl 15lb- 10, 8 then 10 lb- 10
  • Barbell Squat 85lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Leg Extensions 55lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Lying Hamstring Curls 50lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Dumbbell lunges 30lb- 10, 10, 10
  • Standing Calf Raises 25lb- 15, 15, 15
There are several benefits I've notices after doing this routine for a few weeks. First off, it's getting easier! I don't struggle to keep my form anymore, so I can really focus on working the muscle instead of just not dropping the weights like a dork. My IT band and piriformis issues have nearly vanished. THIS is the happiest benefit of all!! I have been plagued with these issues for the past few years on and off, and they were really getting bad before I started doing weights. We ran a hilly long run this weekend and I had no issues..... which was GREAT!! Lastly, I can do more than one push up now, which has earned me (a tiny amount) some respect amongst the males in this household. They can all still whip me of course (even Nicholas) but I will keep working on it! If you are considering starting a weight training routine, I would encourage you to DO IT! The one I posted takes about an hour, and it works your whole body, so that's helpful if you only have 2 or 3 days per week to commit to weight training.

Have a great day!! :)

1 comment:

  1. We must move! There's not a Trader Joe's here in Boise...but I think there is one in the works. We do have a Whole Foods going up (been building all summer) that should be opening soon. Funny - whenever I go home for a visit I come with a long TJ's list of what people want me to get!