Whew! The past week has been nonstop chaos. Between grad school assignments, appointments for the kids, and the start of the spring sports season, I’m barely staying afloat. Though the school work and appointments aren’t all that exciting, I am thrilled that sports practices are back on our schedule!
This is the first year that our 5 year old is playing lacrosse. I think I’m just as excited as he is (if not more so)! Lacrosse is the “official team sport” of Maryland, and has been played on the East Coast for centuries. The first written account was recorded in 1636, but Native Americans were known to have played it long before then. I guess that’s how lacrosse earned the title of the “oldest sport in North America“.
Have you seen the movie “Wedding Crashers”? If so, you might recall the now infamous quote “crabcakes and football, that’s what Maryland does”. (If not, you need to go watch it- like right now, it’s a favorite in our house!) I would argue, and fellow Marylander’s would agree, that it should be “crabcakes and lacrosse”, not football. We take pride in our crabcakes and though we love football, lacrosse is really our sport.
Let’s set the record straight: Crabcakes and lacrosse, that’s what Maryland really does!
On the first night of practice, we got got our kiddo suited up in his pads and helmet (which weigh almost as much as he does), and sent him onto the field. At first I thought we were at the wrong field because he was so much smaller than the other boys on his team. Although he’s the littlest guy out there, he wins the race for ground balls every time (which makes his former lacrosse playing momma proud)!
Although I’m thrilled that my little guy is learning to play lacrosse, the practices are in the evenings and it makes dinnertime a real challenge. We’re not getting home from the field until almost 7:00pm. Which means that unless we have a dinner game plan in place, we’ll all be scrounging in the fridge for PB&J sandwiches (no thanks).
The solution is to have a delicious, healthy, and easy meal that can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up when we get home. This Lemon & Rosemary Cheesy Pasta Bake is the perfect way to solve our sports night dinner dilemma. Here’s the play-by-play: a creamy, cheesy sauce is combined with chicken, kale, and pasta, all baked in the oven until its ooey-gooey, mouth-watering, and totally tasty! Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Lemon & Rosemary Cheesy Pasta Bake
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cans coconut milk
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (plus additional for garnish)
4 oz (approximately) *Dubliner cheese, grated (plus additional for garnish)
Several handfuls of organic kale, chopped (roughly 2 cups)
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
14 oz. penne pasta, cooked (we use a gluten free variety)
3/4 cup organic mozzarella cheese, shredded
*NOTE: If Dubliner cheese is not available, a high quality Parmesan would work
1. Preheat oven to 375*.
2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil and garlic, saute until garlic is fragrant.
3. Next, add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, coconut milk, rosemary, and grated Dubliner cheese. Reduce heat slightly, stirring occasionally, let simmer until reduced and mixture is thicker (about 4-5 minutes).
4. Toss in the kale, chicken, and cooked penne. Stir to combine.
5. Pour pasta into a baking dish (I usually use a 9 x 13). Top with mozzarella cheese and any remaining rosemary.
6. Bake at 375* until cheese is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.
7. Serve warm, garnish with sprinkle of Dubliner cheese and rosemary.