If you look up the definition of that word in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure the picture beside it is of me.
I haven’t been sleeping well for about a week. It’s my own fault. See, I’m a little bit neurotic about being late. I can’t stand to be late. I have lots of friends who are habitually late – and their lateness doesn’t bother me. Really, it doesn’t. But I cannot stand to be late. I have friends who refer to me as “The Buzzard” because I usually get somewhere too early and then have to circle around and around until it’s time to go in. I get this from my parents who always err to the side of early. Always. They’ve always said that being late means that you think your schedule is more important than anyone else’s. Genetically, I cannot be late. Ever.
My children do not share this sensibility.
When I am freaking out because they don’t have socks or shoes on, or they haven’t brushed their hair – and we’re leaving in 26 and a half minutes! – they seem to go even more slowly. I swear they do. Just to see my head spin around.
Michael also does not worry about lateness.
When I start to freak out in the morning about getting everything done, he usually says the one thing a man should never say to a frantic woman: Calm down.
“I can’t calm down! We’re almost late!”
There’s a word for almost late, honey. It’s called “on time”!
Well, I’ve had a series of things lately that I simply cannot be late for. Elizabeth had to cheer at basketball games on Saturday and we were riding with friends. We HAD to be at their house at 7:50 – which in Felicia time means 7:45 – and we could not be late! We had a mandatory faculty meeting on Monday morning – to discuss employee insurance, of all things – and we could not be late! Last night, I forgot to ask Christopher before bedtime if he had a capella practice this morning, so I knew I needed to be up on time in case he had to leave early for practice – because he can not be late!
Most people set their alarm and drift off to Dreamland, confident in their electronic device’s ability to awaken them at the preset time. I set my alarm and then wake up every 47 minutes to look at the clock because I’m worried I will oversleep and be late. It’s miserable.
But I can’t be late.
So now I’m tired.
I lumbered through my day, perking up when kids were in my room because they’re kids and they shouldn’t have to worry about my rotten mood. As a teacher, you can’t bring that into the classroom. You paste on your teacher smile and play that recording that is ingrained into your very being: “Good morning! I’m so glad you’re here today!” Because no matter how tired and grumpy you are, You really are glad that they’re here today. And they always need to know that.
As I left school, I got a text from Christopher asking me to pick him up from school where he had stayed late to retake an algebra test. (I hate to be Molly the Math-Hater here, but the stuff he’s learning right now really does beg to ask, “When am I EVER going to use this in the real world?” I mean Graphing Systems of Inequalities? Seriously. It’s like some angry, loner math dude just sat around trying to think up the most difficult and incomprehensible thing possible so that generations of children to come would weep and gnash their teeth – thereby causing great grief and sadness to their parents and EVERYONE around them!) So I picked him up and we headed home where Michael had just arrived after working out of town all day.
I really just wanted to go jump into a hot bubble bath for an hour and forget my stinky day, but there was dinner to contend with, so I rooted around in the pantry, fridge, and freezer and came up with this new little gem! It tastes just like the spinach and artichoke dip that we all love, but I added chicken and pasta!
Spinach Artichoke and Chicken Pasta
- 10-oz. bag of frozen chopped onion
- 24-oz. bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 14-oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 8-oz. package of cream cheese, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
- 2 cups of cubed grilled chicken
- 12-oz. box of bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions in salted water
- 4 cups of shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup of grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil pasta according to package directions. While pasta is boiling, in a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and add onions, cooking over high heat until onions are translucent. Add spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts, salt, and garlic salt. Stir until heated through. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add sour cream and chicken and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary.
Drain pasta and add to the spinach mixture, stirring to combine. Add mozzarella and stir. Transfer to a 9X13 baking dish and top with parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes until parmesan is golden.
Well Duh #1: Use the bag of frozen spinach – not the box.
Well Duh #2: I used low-fat cream cheese and light sour cream.
Well Duh #3: This will freeze beautifully!
Well Duh #4: This would work great with cavatappi or penne pasta, too. Something substantial though to hold up to the sauce.
Well Duh #5: I didn’t grill my own chicken. I bought diced grilled chicken in the freezer section.
Well Duh #6: I overestimated the size of my skillet and had to transfer everything to a giant Tupperware bowl in order to stir it all together before pouring it into the baking dish. I really didn’t have to tell you that, but I felt compelled.
We all really enjoyed this new dish. I think you will, too! I’m so glad there is enough left for leftovers!
I don’t think I have anything to wake up early for in the morning. I’m planning to go to bed a little early and sleep all night long.
It probably won’t happen. Kids. Dog. Weather. Loud car radio going down the road. Ice maker dropping ice in the freezer on the other side of the house. Snoring husband. Snoring me.
But at least I’ll be on time to school in the morning!
Oh, Lord. Here we go again!