Is there anything — anything — that makes you feel stupider than huffing and puffing to an aerobics video in your own living room? The answer is no. Don’t ask me why, but whenever I do one (which used to be never and now is occasionally), I can’t help but picture some big, hulking, masculine John Wayne-type cowboy or drill sergeant or linebacker watching me and wrinkling his manly nose in disgust at my total and complete lameness. I get it, John Wayne! I have personal problems.
Anyway, despite having to overcome my embarrassment at being watched by figment-of-my-imagination John Wayne, I’ve actually started doing at-home aerobics every so often these days. I think it was a product of me realizing how much I hate running, combined with discovering that I can use a simple HDMI2 cable to connect my laptop to the TV and play youtube exercise videos on the TV. Did you know you can do this!?!? It’s kindof amazing, actually.
And there are zillions of workout videos online, did you know that!?!? There are. I’ve checked out a bunch of them, and I have to say, I’m a Denise Austin girl through and through. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for that amazingly 80s Hips, Thighs, and Buttocks video — that I remember doing with my mom along to our VHS copy! — but I just like Denise Austin best. She’s so encouraging and peppy and never makes you do anything for more than a minute or so, so it’s hard to get bored. And maybe it’s not a world-class workout fit for an elite athlete or anything, but it definitely gets me sweaty and exhausted, so I’m calling it a win.
So if you want to give DIY-youtube-livingroom-aerobics a try, these are my two favorite videos. They’re both short (20 and 12 minutes), but you can do them together for a longerish workout (which is always long enough for me).
And if you want a good reason for a workout, I bring you pepperoni spaghetti pie. So good and even slightly lightened up from its original version!
PEPPERONI SPAGHETTI PIE (adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook)
8 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta, cooked to al dente (you can use regular spaghetti, but you may need to adjust the cook time)
5 oz pepperoni, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fennel (optional)
1 and 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese (I used half cheddar, half pepperjack), plus more for topping
Salt and pepper
1. Coat 9-inch round pie plate with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 475.
2. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add pepperoni and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes, cooking about 30 seconds, then add diced tomatoes. Stir and simmer over low heat, about 10 minutes.
3. Add cooked angel hair pasta, evaporated milk, Italian seasoning, and fennel (if using) to skillet, stirring to combine. Stir in cheese. Salt and pepper and/or adjust seasonings to taste.
4. Pour pasta mixture into pie plate (plate will be very full). Bake 12-15 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and pasta begins to crisp around edges. Top with additional cheese and bake an additional 1-2 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Yeeeeeah buddy! I think even imaginary John Wayne would forgive my lame workouts after a piece of this pie…