I’ve decided to start a new little series called “lunch for one.” Since becoming a mama, I find I need to prepare at least one, often two, meals a day for just myself. Because I’m breastfeeding, it’s essential for me to eat balanced meals rich in protein, complex carbs, and fiber (though I believe every woman, mama or not, deserves good nutrition). These nutritious meals also need to be easily (read: quickly) prepared while tending to a two-month old. I often find myself looking for recipes and lunch inspiration for these meals, so I thought I’d share my own now and then in case anyone else is looking for ideas. These recipes are not intended to be very scientific or precise, just nutritious, simple meals that come together quickly.

Today’s quick and simple lunch – oat bran penne with wilted baby spinach and chick peas sauteed in garlic oil.

1 c. penne pasta (I chose oat bran for its protein, fiber, and lower gluten content, you could use any type you prefer)
1 handful baby spinach
1 15.5oz can of chick peas (you’ll use about half)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Ground pepper to taste

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook your penne. Drain and thoroughly rinse chick peas in hot water. In a small sautee pan over medium-low heat, pour olive oil and allow it to heat up. Sautee garlic until fragrant, just a minute or two. Add chick peas to the oil and sautee for 5 minutes or so. I used about half the can of chick peas and put the rest in the refrigerator to roast tomorrow for an afternoon snack. Add a handful of baby spinach and leave over the heat until spinach is wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Drain your pasta, and add to the sautee pan. Toss the penne with the chick peas and spinach, add ground black pepper to taste, and serve.