Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Meal

I'm loving the warmer weather and how summer is quickly approaching.  I think some members of our family are in denial considering the fact that my two-year-old was skipping around the living room belting out "Jingle Bells" this morning. Summer has always been my favorite season. One of the many things I love about summer is the price and availability of fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables.  Making meals is always my favorite household job, but even more so this time of year.  So befitting the season, I'm doing something totally new to this blog and sharing three recipes that make an easy, light, and very yummy meal.  While the salad recipe is of my own making, the credit for the other two recipes goes to Cooking Light and my dear friend Jessica.

This is a newer recipe for us, but it was a hit.  All three of my children loved it; which means an instant "keeper" in my house.  It tastes gourmet, but was so easy to make.

  • 1 (10 oz.) package of frozen long-grain brown rice (such as Bird's Eye Steamfresh; thought I really think a dry package of long-grain rice would work fine)
  • 2 Tbsp. pre-made pesto
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray

  • 1/2 c. fat-free milk
  • 2 eggs (or 1/2 egg substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • dash of ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz. prosciutto, cut into thin strips 
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2.To prepare the crust, cook the brown rice according to package directions.  Combine cooked rice, pesto, Parmesan, and 1 egg.  Firmly press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the dish from the oven.
3.Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
4. To prepare filling, combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through the egg) in a bowl and whisk.
5. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and half of the prosciutto into the bottom of the prepared crust. Top with half of the tomato slices.  Repeat with remaining mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomatoes. Pour milk mixture over all.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees (do not remove the tart from the oven); bake an additional 35 minutes or until set.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with basil.  (yields 6 servings)

Steven and I are crazy about salads, and thankfully our kids enjoy them too (okay, well, we're still working on Adriana...).  After a lot of experimenting, this is my favorite combination for a salad.  For the lettuce, I like the Spring Mix from Costco which you will always find in my fridge. To keep the lettuce fresh, I put a paper towel in the container to suck up moisture.  This salad is also a delicious main course if topped with smoked salmon.

  • lettuce and dark greens salad mix
  • dried cherries (dried cranberries work as well)
  • strawberries, sliced
  • crumbled goat cheese (feta if you prefer)
  • 1/4 c. pecans, chopped in half
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Sprinkle desired amount of dried cherries, strawberry slices, and goat cheese over the lettuce. In a small bowl mix the honey and pecans.  Spread coated pecans on a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high in the microwave for approximately 1 minute being sure to stop the microwave to stir it once or twice.  Serve with desired salad dressing though I think it's good enough to skip the dressing!

I've made many a pie in my lifetime, and this is by far the fewest calories I've ever seen in a pie. The beauty of it is that it's definitely not lacking in the taste department.  I made it today and was drooling as I smelled it baking. It is best made earlier in the day or the night before and served cold or at room temperature.

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter  
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • cooking spray

  • 3 c. fresh raspberries
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. For the crust, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter.  Stir in the egg and milk.  Press into a greased pie plate.  It's sticky; so I do this by putting a plastic sandwich bag over my hand and coating the bag with cooking spray.
3. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until still peaks form.  Fold in the berries.  Put the filling into the the unbaked crust.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes. (yields 6 servings) 

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