Monday, March 3, 2014

Penne with spinach & fried eggs

Considering what a neurotic perfectionist I am, my daily life is full of little failures.  Or, maybe it's the other way around: my life is full of little failures because I'm such a perfectionist.

What's that?  It's Monday, you say?  You came here looking for a light-hearted story and an easy recipe rather than the cynical ramblings of a 29-year-old complaining about first world problems?  Keep reading -- I promise this is going somewhere delicious.

I'm currently training for my second half marathon (May 4th is the big day).  By no means does this make me a seasoned runner or marathoner, yet I feel so much more at ease this time around.  I wish I could tell 2009 post-foot surgery and pre-half marathon Katy the following: "Chill out and enjoy yourself!  You've trained enough; the rest is mental."  After all, my goal then was simply to finish.

This time around, I've set a few more specific goals and created my own training program with them in mind.  I'm even ahead of schedule, which seems impossible.  "This is almost too easy," I thought.

"Pride cometh before a fall," someone once said.

In this case, pride cometh before an onslaught of pesky little hiccups only distance runners could understand.  Hiccups that I surely experienced and learned from the first time around but forgot all about this time.  I wish 2009 Katy would've been smart enough to document these things.

Alas, it's been a exciting ride thus far.  Each week's long run brings new surprises and lessons learned.  Regular hairbands are too slippery; rubberbands stay put.  Cotton tanks and shirts are literally wet blankets; wicking performance fabrics are the only option from here on out.  And it is absolutely critical to choose the right undergarments... just saying.

But, the real fun has been remembering that I can eat nearly anything I want after a 10 mile run without much consequence.  The downside is that there are plenty of things I should not eat the night before a long run: steak, broccoli, and anything too cheesy or greasy.  That Friday night fondue with the girls seemed like a good idea at the time...

Every week, I fine tune my Friday night dinner in hopes that I'll discover the magic formula.  This past week I finally got it.  Eureka!

Whole wheat pasta is tossed with sauteed spinach and topped with two fried eggs and a dusting of parmesan.  This combination of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy green vegetables turned out to be my magic running elixir -- fueling without being heavy.

The most important thing about these meals, though, is that they taste good.  And this dish really hit the mark!  There's beauty in simplicity, letting the flavors and textures of the ingredients shine through.  The best part?  Totally the sauce from the egg yolk that coated the pasta and spinach.  Yum!

The race is two months away, and my pre-race dinner is planned and ready to go.  The undergarments, well, that's another story... T minus 8 weeks to perfect 'em.

Penne with Spinach & Fried Eggs
-serves 2

1 cup dried small penne pasta
Ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
10 ounces baby spinach
4 large eggs, divided
Grated parmesan cheese, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 10 to 12 minutes or according to package instructions.  Drain pasta and return to pot.

Meanwhile, add oil to a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Saute onions until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add spinach and stir until wilted completely, season with salt and pepper.  Stir spinach and onions into cooked pasta until combined.

Return skillet to burner over medium heat.  Cook eggs over easy, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Divide spinach pasta mixture between two bowls and top each with two cooked eggs.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. How exciting that your second half marathon is almost here! Crazy how fast time, isn't it? I'm loving this meal of pasta, spinach and eggs... I might just have to add it to my dinner menu!! :)