#LoveYourLunch – Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad

{what’s in your cupboard lunch}

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I can’t believe this is the 5th week of the Lunch Your Lunch series!  Cooking Like Lou & I were just going to post for 5 weeks, but I am in for it again next week too.

If you are new to the series, all the details are here in my first Love Your Lunch post.  I definitely started to become more creative when it has come to my lunches.  I really am loving my lunch too!  Sometimes, if the day is busy I tend to just eat at my computer.  However, I try to avoid this at all costs because it is important to get up, stretch, eat, and most importantly take my eyes away from the computer.  Having a yummy lunch makes it a more enjoyable break too.

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So I’d be lying behind these lines if I said this post was planned and I got the ingredients and everything was organized ahead of time.  Nope.  That is why the subtitle of the post is called the “what is in your cupboard lunch”.  This happens to us about 95% of the time, right?  Well, this recipe shows you that if you get a little creative and make lunch ahead of time you will Love. Your. Lunch.

I hadn’t been to the store and knew I needed to prepare my post for today so I dug through the pantry to see what I could throw together as my lunch.

The cast of the show:  leftover box of farfalle, a can of artichoke hearts, bag of spinach, parmesan cheese.

And the recipe was born.

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Pasta for lunch is not typically on my lunch menu.  However, a small amount with some healthy oil and some veggies won’t kill me.  I highly recommend preparing this dish the night before for a grab-and-go morning.  It is especially easy to make if you had pasta for dinner the night before.  Save a bit of whatever noodle you have and add the rest of the ingredients.

spinach & artichoke pasta salad
Recipe By:  Sara
Yields:  2   ///   Prep Time:  10 minutes   ///   Cook time:  10 minutes   ///   Serve:  Chilled

Ingredients:
4-6 oz pasta [I used bow ties]
3-4 artichoke hearts, quartered
1 handful fresh spinach
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  Cook pasta according to directions and reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
2.  Add pasta back into the pot it was cooked in.
3.  Add spinach and artichokes.  Stir until spinach wilts.
4.  Stir in oil, vinegar, pasta water, cheese, and spices.
5.  Place in tupperware and store until the next day.
6.  Eat chilled or warmed in the microwave briefly if desired.

*This recipe made enough for two people so grab a lunch buddy & treat them #loveyourlunch style :)

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Need some more lunch ideas?  Be sure to check out Cooking Like Lou & Two Places at Once have this week!

Enjoy!

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#LoveYourLunch – Caprese Flatbread

{the ultimate trio}

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Welcome back to yet another week of Love Your Lunch!  Marisa & I are excited to have Becca on board now for the series.  Now there are three different ideas for some great, yet simple lunches.  Think how easy it is going to be to start loving your lunch!  We post our 3 ideas.  You read it.  You go to the store the following Sunday, gathering all ingredients listed.  You have 3 days of amazing lunches!

Head over to their blogs to check out what is on their lunch menus:
Two Places at Once
Cooking Like Lou

Not going to lie, last week I was hating my lunch.  My Sweet Peach & Arugula Salad was great, but that’s as far as I got last week.  The other days consisted of random items from the fridge.  I was determined to focus on more lunch items while grocery shopping yesterday instead of intense dinners.  I seriously find myself having a much better day when I know my delicious lunch awaits me around 1:00.

I tend to avoid a lot of carbs for lunch because I end up feeling bloated and too full the rest of the day.  This is not a feeling I want to have while scrambling around & being busy.  That being said, I really enjoy the flatbread created by “Flat Out”.  They are low in calories, not so cardboard-y, and quite flavorful.  The Italian is probably my favorite, but the Multigrain one [see below] keeps me full & not snacking post-lunch.  It contains flax which is an added bonus.  Another plus, I always see them on sale for 2 for $5.00.

IMG_3773I usually use them as wraps liked pictured on their bag, but today I decided to keep it flat & make myself a Caprese Flatbread.  Only a few simple ingredients are needed and I made it in about 3 minutes flat, pun intended.

IMG_3774Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil.  My favorite trio.  I most likely have mentioned it around this blog once or twice before.  My craving and love grows even more as the weather warms.  A pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and sweet olive oil bring the whole thing together.

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Feel free to warm the flatbread in the microwave – however, I have a feeling the tomatoes could make the bread soggy.  The flatbread is easily cut into fourths and stored in a Tupperware for a portable on-the-go lunch.

CAPRESE FLATBREAD

Servings:  1 flatbread   ///   Prep Time:  3 minutes

Ingredients
4-5 tomato slices
4-5 slices of fresh mozzarella [try it smoked!]
2 Tbsp fresh basil, Julienned
1 Multigrain Flat Out bread
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parmesan cheese [optional]
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Use a brush or spoon to spread the olive oil over the bread.
2.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.
3.  Top with tomato, basil, & mozzarella.
4.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
5.  Slice & enjoy.

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IMG_3787Enjoy

 

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if I could go to lunch with….

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So it’s been awhile since I linked up with all the lovely ladies participating in The Girl Between the Lines.  Being mainly a food blogger, sometimes I find it difficult to write as freely.  However, I really love all my other favorite lifestyle bloggers out there and it is starting to become more natural.

Also, I have to mention… when I posted about Bryan and I being together for 3 years, my blog views that day were the highest ever.  And by best ever, I mean surpassing my previous best ever by 100 views.  He likes to think his good looks & awesomeness were the cause of all this traffic.  Either he is right or people are interested in my life?  Not sure, but my lifestyle posts seem to be pretty popular around these parts.

That being said, I wanted to link up with Hayley & Lauren again because I love that everyone in the link up is posting about the same topic.

This week on The Girl Between the Lines we are discussing:

2/26   If you could have lunch with any blogger, celebrity or public figure, who would it be and why?

Figures though, I am never really good at these kinds of questions because I have trouble picking one.  I am going to pick one from each category!

1.  I would LOVE to go have lunch, accompanied with several cocktails with the lovely Erin from Living in Yellow.  People.. I have to read her posts at home most of the time for fear of busting out laughing at work uncontrollably.  I work in a pharmacy, nothing is ever THAT funny… except that one time I was told to “please hold while I change my diaper”.  Anyways, Erin’s blog is one of my favorites to read.  Before starting this blog, I read Living in Yellow regularly.  Not only is she hilarious, her writing flows, she loves a good cocktail, and she shares great tips on fashion & has some tasty recipes as well.  I am quite envious of her life too.  She works her booty off in the morning & blogs away the rest of her day in her freaking adorable office.  Have I officially sounded like a stalker yet?  Great.  She will never want to have lunch with me!  Erin loves life & reading her adventures each day makes me excited to be part of the blogging world.  She is really talented and I cannot wait (if I convince myself) to meet her at Blogcation!  So Erin, here’s a little ode to you and your awesomeness.  Rock on, girlfriend!

2.  If I could meet a celebrity who would it be?

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Need I say more??

Unfortunately, lunch with Ryan Reynolds may not be very verbal as my eyes would be just sparkling looking at him.  Therefore, my lunch date would be with Lauren Conrad.  I mean she was on Laguna Beach, practically the best show in its day, right?  I think she is such a talented woman regardless of her somewhat lame role on the show.  She seems fun, yet down to earth & I feel like our conversation would come easy.  Lauren? Ryan? If you are out there reading this, can we have lunch?

3.  A public figure… I pick Ellen.  I love her.  She is hilarious & has such a big heart.  I wish I didn’t have a job just so I can watch her show each day.  I feel too awkward watching it recorded, not the same feel.  I am not a spontaneous, outgoing person, practically the opposite of Ellen, so I feel like lunch with her would crack my shell a bit.  She is always looking to help people & share the little things which I admire.

Now, off to work I go with my lunch pail in hand.  Peanut butter jelly and all.  No lunch date for me TODAY :(

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