So obviously I am sharing an Italian dinner with you today. I told you I was chock full of tomatoes, especially the little guys, if you want some seriously come help yourself! OK so my favorite way to eat tomatoes, Bruschetta!!! Yea! And we don't have to share with the kids because they don't eat tomatoes, Yea!!!
- 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced
- Mrs Dash's Tomato Basil Seasoning - how could I not add this?
2 slices = 3 pts, I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, I have an app for that (I feel very technologically advanced since I entered the world of intelligent-portable communication devices aka Smartphones) The app is really nice for cooking and it doesn't go into screen saver mode because it knows that you obviously are trying to follow a recipe! So good, we used some of our tomatoes and our basil. What to go with it????
- In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.
Creamy Tortellini with Ham
1 pound refrigerated or frozen tortellini
6-8 slices diced cooked bacon (I decided instead to have the deli cut a thick 1/2 lb slice of ham and I cut it in cubes and browned it shortly in the frying pan)
1 pint half & half or heavy cream (I used fat free)
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste (this is about 1/2 of the small cans, I just used the whole thing for a little more tomato-y sauce)3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (horrifically I am out Italian seasoning but I used Mrs. Dash's Tomato Basil again)
I also tossed in some sundried tomatoes too, it was, after all, a tomato themed meal!
Cook diced bacon in skillet until crisp, drain on paper towels, set aside (again I just browned my already cooked ham slightly)
Cook tortellini according to package instructions, until pasta is done but still firm to touch. You don’t want it to be too soft or it will fall apart when you stir in remaining ingredients. The tortellini will normally float to the top of the water when it is done.
While tortellini is cooking, combine the cream or half & half with the tomato paste. This step is optional but you will avoid clumps of tomato paste if you mix it together before adding to pasta. Heat in microwave for a minute or so to soften the tomato paste and incorporate into the cream easier.
Drain water from tortellini, reserving 1/2 cup. Return pasta to pan and add cream mixture, peas, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Cook over medium low heat until bubbly and heated through. If sauce is too thick gradually add reserved pasta water until it reaches desired consistency.
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese grated on top if desired and with a tossed salad and bread (like Bruschetta!)
This made a big pot (about 10 servings) and that makes it about 6 pts a serving. Now here I have to brag a little and at the same time reveal part of my menu-planning strategy. I used to participate in Dream Dinners a lot when we had one here. It really made me better in the kitchen, I learned to use more creative ingredients, less boring meals, expanded my horizons, and it made my husband a better griller too! Anyways, I developed a plan, perhaps tedious to some, but I enjoy it and it fits my type A personality well! Each month when DD comes out with a new monthly menu plan I copy and paste it to a Word document. Then I take the title and the description of each meal and search the Internet to find a similar recipe and make any modifications that I need to, to make it diet friendly. This recipe came from a page called asimplekitchen.net and when I plugged it in swapping the fat free half and half and the ham it worked out to only 6 pts. And when I pulled up the nutritional info on Dream Dinners creamy tortellini....13 pts!!!! I felt very good about that difference! Many of the dishes I have shared recently; the fish tacos, the teriyaki burgers and the forth coming buffalo chicken are all my adapted versions of those ideas from DD. That gives you a little tip on how to come up with good diverse meal ideas if you have menu planning block! Lately I am doing a few from there, a few from Jillian's book, a few from either Betty Crockers or Hungry Girl's weekly email and then some recipes that are my "classics" or recipes I have collected over the years.
So my whole dinner was only 9 pts, which I really needed after I had gone to the fair earlier that day and had part of an Elephant Ear and Fri night at the Metro Cruise I had cotton candy! Yikes!
So if Julia Child had Mastered the Art of Italian Cooking, she would probably say...
Salute!! Buon Appetito!