Limbo is not fun {Farfalle with tomato + basil chicken meatballs}

Did you know moving is one of life’s top stressors? At the beginning of June I got an offer on my co-op here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and the sale STILL hasn’t gone through. I thought it was going to happen by Labor Day so I packed most of my belongings, including a majority of my kitchen items.

That was a mistake. It’s now almost October and I am still living around boxes.

It’s incredibly stressful, I admit. I’m a wanderer by nature and can run off to another country without hesitation, but I love to have a comfortable nest to return to, so this situation has been incredibly frustrating. And because a lot of my kitchen tools, pots and pans and dishes are tucked away in boxes, I haven’t been cooking—and cooking is something that relaxes me and makes me happy.

Limbo is not a fun place, but I am going with the flow as best I can. Which is why I am NOT going to beat myself up that I am not making every dinner by scratch—well within reason.

So I decided to try these tomato and basil chicken meatballs from al fresco natural. I’m glad I did, because they are an easy solution to a stressful time. (And, they taste great.)

I pride myself on making everything from scratch and using all fresh ingredients, but sometimes there are options that make life a bit easier, and right now I am going with those.

What are some shortcuts you take in the kitchen during busy, stressful times? Let me know in the comments below.

Fafalle with tomato + basil chicken meatballs
12 oz al fresco tomato & basil chicken meatballs
8 oz farfalle
Extra virgin olive oil Cooking Spray
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 tbsp fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp dried pine nuts
1/4 cup sun dried thinly sliced tomatoes
1 cup pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 oz fresh baby arugula leaves, about 4 cups

Cook the farfalle in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain + reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, coat with pan spray and 1 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil. Saute the garlic and pine nuts, stirring rapidly for 45 seconds (be careful not to burn). Add the al fresco Tomato & Basil Chicken Meatballs. Cook for 2 minutes, and add the cup of reserved pasta liquid. Lower heat to medium. Add the sun-dried tomato slices, pinto beans, black pepper and salt, simmer 2 minutes. To the skillet, add the cooked bowtie pasta, and toss the ingredients together. Cook for another 2 minutes. Just before serving, toss in the baby arugula, give a careful stir to incorporate, and heat through for just 1 minute. Serve immediately and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Top with freshly-grated Parmesan, if desired.

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