Complete meal in 45 minutes

by Joanne on July 27, 2011

You would think after a full day off from long walks, running, weights, and cycling I’d be ready for some serious working out.  It wasn’t so.  We had a terrific time in Niagara Falls and got home Monday afternoon.  Not sure if you’re vacations end this way, but when you arrive home do you take off at warp speed unpacking, vacuuming, grocery shopping and working twice as hard at settling back into routine?  It’s crazy!  Almost not worth going away.

After the whirl-wind arrival home and putting a quick meal on the table for Ted, my parents and myself, I needed to “vegetate”.  I went down into the basement and worked the weights (chest and arms).  Still needing a little space, with only Shane for company, I got on my bike and pedaled hard on the trainer for 30 minutes.  It felt good but left me wondering if I had anything for 11 to 12 miles of running at 4 am the next morning.

I was wide awake when the alarm went off but lacking in desire to do anything.  The infamous motivating speech resounded in my head:  “Get up and do this run today then skip it tomorrow. You still have a lot of time before you need to be serious about Philly.” I fueled up and started running…all of 1 1/2 miles before my stomach went side ways, backwards, forwards, up-side-down, and finally clamped down like a vice.  I couldn’t do anything but moan and sweat in the bathroom for 30 minutes while lying on the floor in fetal position.  At one point, I crawled across the floor to grab two acetaminophen.  Either the pills worked or my stomach had given up the punishment.  I was able to get back downstairs to work my legs then take Shane on a 5 1/2 mile run.  Not quite meeting the plan but I tried.

I’m hoping to get that 11 to 12 miler in at least once then a long run on Saturday.  Here’s hoping all stomach bugs have left the premises.  Oh! I’m changing my Philadelphia Training plan yet AGAIN!  I still have to get it updated.

Quick Meal:  45 Minute Meal

This is what I call a “Return from vacation dinner”.  You know when you get back from a vacation, whether it was five days or ten, you just don’t feel like cooking that first night but everyone feels like eating.  The idea of another meal out just doesn’t appeal.  Pizza? Yeah, that’s an option but chances are you had a slice for lunch on the way home.

This dinner is home cooked, quickly put together, and tastes like you spent the afternoon putting it together.  *WARNING! Both items (salad and casserole) I have written based on memory since I didn’t write down quantity nor ingredients as I was making them. I think the following are pretty close to what I served.

Pecan-Cranberry Garden Greens


-Serves 4

  • 3 cups mixed garden greens (3/4 cup per salad)
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cut into strips
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 large radish, sliced
  • 1 large celery stalk
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 tsp feta cheese
  • 8 TBS Raspberry Vinaigrette (1/2 tsp zesty honey mustard+2 tsps raspberry vinegar+6 TBS extra virgin olive oil+1 tsp dried chives + pinch salt: Whisk the mustard, the vinegar, and salt. Add the oils in a stream and whisk until combines. Stir in the chives.)

Slice the celery stalk in half and slice one half. Cut the other half into 4 equally long sections. Divide the salad greens, spinach, tomato and radish slices equally among 4 bowls. Add the chopped celery. Place a celery “stick” into each bowl and top with pecan, cranberries, and feta. Drizzle with about 2 TBS each vinaigrette.


Tuna and Rice Casserole


-Serves 6

  • 2 large cans tuna (12 oz)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 15 oz green beans
  • 7 oz wax beans
  • 7.5 oz roasted red pepper, sliced small
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil – chopped
  • 3 TBS chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can Condensed Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can water
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBS Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350F. Place all ingredient into a casserole dish (EXCEPT Parmesan) and mix until combined. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes. *The cheese gives the casserole a very light, crisp top.


Love casseroles! They are always better the next day (if you have left overs).

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  • At 2011.07.27 08:02, Ali said:

    Ha – I had to smile when you mentioned all the work it takes when you get back from a vacation. I left for a long weekend camping and I was racing around for days before AND after. Crazy

    Great job sticking with the running after the tummy troubles though – if it had been me I wouldn’t have gone back out again for the extra 5+ miles. Do you think it was something weird you ate while away?

    • At 2011.07.27 15:06, Joanne said:

      The stomach thing subsided and I continued working out with minor discomfort. It was cramping. Horrible!

      • At 2011.07.27 09:01, Heather said:

        Wow, I’m impressed that you got out there and ran after your stomach trouble!! I totally would have bailed on the run if I was you.
        Casseroles are such a great dish. Easy and delicious!

        • At 2011.07.27 15:06, Joanne said:

          Thanks. Just dawned on me I forgot one of my photos. I’m really out of it this week! UGG!

          • At 2011.07.27 11:26, Hannah said:

            For a quick meal, that is superb summer feast! Especially like the sound of that salad, with so many good flavors and textures going on.

            • At 2011.07.27 15:07, Joanne said:

              Thanks Hannah.

              • At 2011.07.27 14:26, Lisa said:

                Sister you rock… were do you find the motivation… you are so dedicated it is truly inspiring! Your dinner looked great! Have a wonderful afternoon!

                • At 2011.07.27 15:07, Joanne said:

                  Thanks Lisa

                  • At 2011.07.28 01:29, Gera@Sweets Foods Blog said:

                    Quick meals should be priority on this hectic days for me too!
                    The combo pecan cranberry can be a winner on my palate, for sure.



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