Sunday, February 28, 2010

After Dinner Thoughts

So, everyone decided this really wasn't breakfast for dinner. Michael especially wanted to know when we ever eat salad for breakfast. Well...we don't, so I guess they're right. But thinking of breakfast for dinner is what prompted me to put this menu together.

The roasted tomato pasta frittata was pretty yummy. I did use a large can of peeled whole tomatoes in place of the fresh tomatoes. I just sliced them and then followed the recipe directions for roasting. This adaptation worked out just fine. The Parmesan toast was good too. One quarter of the fritatta and one slice of Parmesan toast is supposed to be 8 weight watchers points. I had one piece of toast and one-eighth of the fritatta; I'm figuring 5 points.

The banana pecan pancake bake was tasty too. I changed it up by using fat free half and half and a sugar free maple flavored syrup. Also, because I didn't have a big enough pan, I only used 18 pancakes instead of 24. I had 1/2 serving, which with full fat and sugar ingredients is 4.5 weight watchers points. Mom said this reminded her of bread pudding.

So, even though we had an egg dish and a pancake dessert, I guess I can't count this as breakfast for dinner. Oh, well, maybe another time. All said, tonight's dinner worked for me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner

I know we aren't the only family that sometimes likes to have breakfast foods for dinner. Sometimes, though, I am surprised by the people who don't consider breakfast a good alternative to dinner. After doing some searching for a particular recipe, I've come up with the following menu:

Roasted Tomato-Pasta Fritatta with Parmesan Toast from Weight Watchers Down to Earth vegetarian recipes cookbook

Simple spinach salad (okay, so we probably wouldn't normally have spinach salad for breakfast, but it sounds good anyway) with grapefruit again (see my Superbowl Sunday dinner post)

Banana Pecan Pancake Bake from the 2006 Pillsbury Bake-Off contest

So, if you are wondering which was the recipe I was searching for, it is the pancake bake, which is truly decadent and not at all weight watcher friendly. However, it makes 12 servings; 1 serving is 9 points, so if I have half of a serving, I have 4.5 points to count. I can do that. I made this recipe for a work holiday breakfast one year and it is tasty. It's pretty easy too since it uses frozen pancakes.

Here's the frittata recipe:

1 garlic clove, halved
4 (1.5 oz) slices Italian bread
2.5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, about 2.5 pounds
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
7 large egg whites, lightly beaten
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked spaghetti (about 5 oz uncooked pasta), cooked without salt or fat
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon olive oil

1- Rub garlic on one side of each bread slice, and place slices on a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly browned; set Parmesan toast aside.
2- Preheat oven to 450.
3- Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Peel and discard skins.
4- Combine remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, salt, hot sauce, egg whites, and egg yolks in a large bowl; stir well. Add tomato slices, pasta, and basil; stir gently. Set aside.
5- Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat. Add egg mixture, and cook 15 minutes or until set (do not stir). Wrap handle of skillet with foil; broil 3 minutes or until top is set. Cut into wedges. Serve immediately with Parmesan toast.
Yield: 4 servings (1 serving = 1 wedge and 1 slice toast) for 8 points each

Some adaptations I am thinking of making include using canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained instead of fresh tomatoes since this is not tomato season and lately they've been a bit mushy. I'm also thinking of adding artichokes to the mix.

Originally, I had thought I would make spaghetti pancakes from Crescent Dragonwagon's Passionate Vegetarian cookbook, but I decided to make that another day. I also considered artichoke quiche from the WW Down to Earth cookbook or Christmas morning fritatta from Taste of Home's Treasury of Christmas Recipes. But, in the end I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with the menu I listed above. We'll see. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michael's Request

My husband, Michael, had rotator cuff surgery on his right arm this week. The doctor says it went well and he's recovering better than I expected. His surgery was on Wednesday and he started physical therapy on Thursday. He is able to lift his arm over his head and swing it back and forth. In about 6-8 weeks he should be fully recovered and (fingers crossed) pain free! Then he'll look into having the other arm done. Since he's left-handed this surgery hasn't been too much of a hardship for him, but I have to wonder about the next one...

Anyway, Michael has a request for Sunday dinner that I'm a bit hesitant about, and I honestly don't want to share but I will. He wants meatloaf. I've made a great mushroom loaf in the past - he's not interested in that. I offered to use Match - he's not interested in that. We compromised somewhat in that I will use ground turkey breast. We'll have the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas. Old-style comfort food for the patient. Mom and dad will be surprised as well. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

After Dinner Thoughts

Mmmm...instant potato gnocchi is fairly easy to prepare and mighty tasty too! We all enjoyed this dish enough to put it on the repeat list. It was a perfect Valentine's Day dish.

I'm off work today. Michael had rotator cuff surgery this morning. It was an outpatient procedure, so he's already at home. He's sleeping right now with Jazzi, our oldest cat, curled up by his side. The doctor said it all went well and in about 6-8 weeks he should be fully recovered. Tomorrow he starts physical therapy. I just hope after all this he is pain free, at least in that shoulder.

I really must share a book recommendation with you. A friend of mine suggested I read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. This story is a real gift from the author! It's an easy read with a simple yet touching tale to tell. Each chapter focuses on a different student in a Monday night cooking class. Many thanks to Katie for suggesting this book. I recommend you check it out from your local library; and if your library doesn't have it, request it through interlibrary loan and the library will get it for you!

Jazzi Belle Goldenspur

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Sunday Dinner

Before we get into what's for dinner, how do you like the new look? I was a bit bored with the old blog template and felt like expanding my horizons a bit. I don't change the furniture around in my house, but really felt the blog needed a little spiffing up. The photo is one I took from just off our back porch last summer. It was lovely to watch the baby robins grow and flourish in our own backyard! As their parents nourished the babies, our souls were nourished with this part of the cycle of life.

Well it just so happens that Valentine's Day and Sunday dinner coincide this year. Now I'm not a religious gal - I would classify myself as a ethical humanist, if anything. However, having grown up with Christian "holidays" as part of my traditional experience I continue to acknowledge and celebrate these days. Plus most of my friends and family are either Catholic or Methodist and I love them all!

So - what's for dinner? My sister left her February/March 2010 Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine for me to read. On page 12 is a recipe for Instant Potato Gnocchi that sounds fabulous! It calls for 1 cup of mashed potato flakes, 1 cup boiling water, 1 beaten egg, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper. The directions call for stirring the potato flakes in the boiling water before adding the egg; then stirring in the flour and seasonings. After that I'm supposed to knead the mix on a lightly floured surface to end up with a soft dough that is then divided into four portions so that each portion can be rolled on a floured surface into thick ropes that are then cut into 3/4 inch pieces. Then each piece is pressed and rolled with a lightly floured fork to make indentations that will hold the pasta sauce. Finally, the gnocchi is cooked in boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until they float.

So I'll also make my semi-homemade pasta sauce. I saute carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a bit of olive oil and then add a jar of pasta sauce. My personal favorite sauce is Bertolli Vineyard Marinara with Burgundy Wine. We'll have some warm garlic bread and a green salad. Mom is planning to make a chocolate cake. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

I'd like to take a moment to give a shout out to Anita in LA: I truly hope you are finally on the mend; you've had to deal with too much pain for far too long. AND, I hope that Anita's mom mends quickly too - she recently suffered a fall and a fractured leg. Anita's mom had surgery this past Wednesday. Finally, as if that isn't enough for one family, I'm sending positive vibes for Anita's sister Sharon who is going through chemotherapy. I send you all my best and most positive energy and thoughts for recovery and hope that the blog readers will send their positive thoughts and prayers your way too!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After Dinner Thoughts

Dinner was fine. Mom's exact quote was, "The soup was good, but the salad was fabulous!" I have to agree, the ingredients were fresh and refreshing. Loved the grapefruit with the avocado. The toasted pecans played nicely with the goat cheese too. Mom liked the olives in the salad, I personally thought they were overkill. Dad liked the salad so much he had seconds!

The bean dip was pretty yummy, although with an entire jalapeno pepper it had a real kick! I used a bit of leftover dip to make a wrap the next day: warm a whole wheat tortilla with a sprinkle of cheese in the microwave on a paper towel for about 20 seconds, add a line of bean dip and return to microwave for about 10 more seconds. Roll the tortilla on itself and enjoy.

Michael thought the soup was okay; he seemed to enjoy the dip (since he ate most of it himself). He's not a fan of "exotic" ingredients in his salad and he really doesn't like goat cheese much at all, so his salad was pretty mainstream.

My biggest disappointment was the corn chips. Somehow I didn't get them to crisp and so they were tough to bite. I might try these again since there were rave reviews about them. If I do try them again I probably need to leave them in the oven just a little longer than four minutes per side. Oh well, live and learn.