Wednesday, March 16, 2011

lucky green foods

If you're Irish, or really like to drink green beer, then tomorrow's a big day. I briefly considered taking my boys into the city for the St. Patrick's Day parade... until I was told by numerous sources that was a ridiculously bad idea. So much for being festive, hmm? And so, we'll be giving a nod to the holiday by eating three green meals. (I guarantee this is more exciting for me than for them.) At some point this afternoon, the plan was to bake Irish Soda bread. But it's almost 6pm and I was letting the Legos entertain so I could write this post. Now I think we have missed our baking window. Good thing my kids get up at 6am so we've got plenty of time to bake in the morning. (Someone's trying really hard to see the bright side of things.) Anyway, I wanted to share our favorite green-themed recipes to hopefully provide some delicious inspiration:

We'll be having a spinach and zucchini frittata for breakfast. For lunch, I think I'll make open-faced pesto & goat cheese sandwiches with a side of edamame and grapes, if I can find organic ones. (If you are so inspired, here's my favorite pesto recipe...though I plan to just buy a tub of it.) And for dinner, I've got spinach thawing on the counters now so I can whip up a big batch of my absolute favorite greens & cheese pie.

I love this dish, and find it can stand alone as dinner with the hearty filling.

But, I have a little one that exclaimed that he "hates spinach!!!" while we were marketing today, so I'll be serving chicken with Giada's Basil Sauce for dinner too, if I'm inspired to keep on cooking tomorrow. If not, then I'll just toss some chicken on the grill and drizzle it with the pesto from lunch. Realistically, that's the way I'll go. (But yes, to those who wonder...he will still get a nice child-size serving of the greens & cheese pie because I am fairly certain that proclamation was just to get a rise out of me. It seems to be a theme this week.)

For those looking for something equally comforting, but pasta-based, you could always whip up a batch of baked spinach-macaroni & cheese. I never wrote a recipe up for the batch above, but here's a good one I found online.

My spinach lasagna freezes beautifully, so you can make a meal for tomorrow and tuck another dish or two away in the freezer for busy school nights.

Making the meal festive could be as simple as swapping out your regular pasta for spinach noodles (found at just about every market these days). Top with an Alfredo, a homemade basil pesto, my cilantro-walnut pesto, a store bought pesto, or your favorite sauce.

Way back when I gave Trader Joe's risotto a spin, and it wasn't half bad for risotto in a hurry. You may remember, we called it "Monster Mush" to get it down the hatches around here. For tomorrow you can call it "Lucky Green Risotto" or "Leprechaun's Favorite"...whatever you've got to do...

For pizza fans, how about picking some of these crusts up and putting out a selection of green toppings: pesto or cream sauce, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, green pepper slices, arugula, green olives, artichoke hearts, capers, peas, snow peas, fresh get the gist...

If it's cold and rainy by you tomorrow (like it was here today) then maybe my Simple Beans & Greens Soup would be your thing with a hunk of Irish Dubliner or Coolea cheese and some crusty bread on the side for dipping.

Roasted brussel sprouts are super simple, and green.

If you can get asparagus by you already, then you'll like this vegetarian idea: Asparagus Gratins. We served it as a side last Easter, but it could also be the highlight of a meatless meal, served alongside a nice salad.

Now, I know that many of you are hitting the town, so maybe a quick dip idea is more your speed. If so, I'd recommend one of my edamame hummus recipes like this one or this one.

And last but not least, there's that reminder it's spring in the bright green color of my super simple pea dip. It's not often that you get a holiday that encourages green foods, so here's to both a healthful and delicious day of meals!

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