“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart whithers if he does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” — Pearl S. Buck
Now, I’m an ENFP. (that’s extroverted intuition with introverted feeling, if you aren’t up to date on your Meyers-Briggs’s test. And if you are seriously interested in more, you can check out my personality’s wikipedia page. Aren’t you shocked? My personality test tells me I’m an “idealist.” I know, right? You would NEVER have guessed on your own…. HA!)
ENFPs, we are a lucky bunch. We are outwardly focused, but also love to sit back and re-charge and spend alone time. And since I’m super off the charts in the feeling and intuition categories, I usually can balance the alone time just fine ‘n dandy.
But hold on a second.
I live alone.
And that means I spend WAYYY to much time either at work or by myself.
So I decided that’s got to change.
I love my friends. They mean a lot to me. And, gosh darn it all, I’m going to spend more time with them.
|A group shot with some of my friends from a James Bond themed party last year. We are missing a few people (I know Katie was there), but still–pretty impressive group shot, wouldn’t you say?|
One of my goals for the first forty days of 2013 is to dine more with friends. To entertain my friends more. (And I have gotten off to rollicking good start with this goal, I have to say.)
Tonight, my girlfriend Katie will be joining me for dinner after we each do our own personal mental and physical fitness routine. (Only she’ll be off to CrossFit, while I’ll be walking, meditating, and yoga-ing up a storm. What would friends be if we were all the same?) And don’t even ask what I’m making tonight. I’m too indecisive this morning. I know our dinner will be as healthy as possible. And use pancetta, because I’ve got some good pancetta from Trader Joe’s that’s got to be consumed this week. And there will be a wine. Because friends and good wine just go together, don’t they?
Last week, however, I had my girlfriend Kyle over for dinner. With this unseasonably warm weather we’re currently experiencing (Global Warming much?), we were able to dine al fresco in my courtyard–without even a jacket.
The meal? A Broccoli Spinach Quinoa Casserole. Our verdict? Super healthy and tasty, though we may add a few bell peppers to the mix next time.
Here’s last week’s successful girlfriend dinner. Have a suggestion for my pancetta-based meal tonight? Or a tip for another future friend dinner? And, of course, the dinner party will happen soon! (Y’all, we have a shrimp and grits cook-off to follow-up the New Year’s Day collard greens cook-off, stay tuned!)
Broccoli Spinach Quinoa Casserole
Canola Oil Cooking Spray
10 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 pound (or more) of chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup +1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
2 large eggs
2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked), prepared per directions using chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 x8 inch baking dish (or lasagna pan) with cooking spray. Lightly dust with a handful of panko.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot to boil and add broccoli for 3-5 minutes. (Less if fresh.) For last ten seconds, add spinach. Immediately drain and transfer broccoli/spinach to the ice water. When cool, drain again. Put broccoli back in bowl. Thoroughly drain spinach and squeeze out extra moisture. Chop spinach and mix with broccoli. Set side.
3. Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. (Note: If you’d like, I’d also add some chopped red bell pepper at this stage.) About halfway through cooking, add the herbs de provence and red pepper flakes. Finish cooking and set aside.
4. In a large bowl combine spinach/broccoli mixture, onion mixture, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, two large eggs, and cooked quinoa. Combine thoroughly. Add salt and pepper, to your preference.
5. Transfer mixture to the baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or more, if necessary) and sprinkle with additional panko. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. If you’d like a more golden crust, broil for last two minutes of cooking time.
|This is how the casserole should look before you pop it in the oven!|
6. Serve with a nice glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy with a good friend!!
|YES! Healthy can taste good!|
And remember don’t break bread alone, just because you live alone. (Or if you live with a significant other or your family, don’t just eat with them.) There’s nothing better than a meal with a friend!
As Tracy Lawrence (with the help of Kenny and Tim) says your friends are important. “When the waters high, when the weather’s not so fair, when the well runs dry, who’s gonna be there?” Your friends are. So make them a priority, even when life is going splendidly. I guarantee you won’t regret it y’all.