Penne Pasta with Spring Vegetables

Cooking used to frustrate me somewhat…and it took me quite a while to figure out why.

Though I am organized (i.e. almost a control freak) in essentially every other aspect of my life, I would leave dinner plans to the last-minute, always leaving me frustrated because I would feel pressure to put something together quickly. It didn’t really occur to me until the past month or so that if I plan ahead, the stress would go away!  I know, I know…this was a “duh” moment for me.

I decided to start grocery shopping every two weeks (with the exception, of course, of small trips if something was forgotten) and making a meal list for that time period. The list isn’t rigid–meaning that I don’t have a specific recipe for a specific day (which would drive me crazy)…but it gives me enough guidance that I can come home, look at a short list (rather than a large cookbook) and make my decision. It has helped tremendously!

I feel like a much better wife when I am prepared, because Brennan can come home from work and have dinner ready for him after a long day of work. Not that he has EVER complained or said a word–I just have goals/expectations for myself that I don’t always meet. 🙂 I am so blessed to have a husband who has never once disliked anything that I have made, and who is always appreciative of my efforts!

I’ve also started a small binder where I type out/cut out recipes that I actually use, which helps when it comes to meal planning because I own 15-20 cookbooks…and that is slightly overwhelming. But, I definitely don’t use all of those recipes, so I’ve started collecting the ones that I do use. I have a section specifically for “crock pot” recipes, which is EXTREMELY helpful to have with our crazy schedules!

Anyway…tonight I made a recipe that we had picked up at our company’s “Wellness Fair” recently, and it was not only good, it was very healthy and nutritious! So I decided that I should share…

I did not create this recipe, but I’m not sure who should get the credit.

Penne Pasta with Spring Vegetables


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups yellow squash

3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp salt (optional)

1 box (16 oz) penne pasta

6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thick strips

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and squash; cook 3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened.

Add chicken broth; reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking 5 minutes. Season with salt/pepper.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Add pasta and basil to vegetable mixture; toss to combine. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

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