Monday, August 27, 2012

And so it Begins!

Today was my first day of work.  No kids - more like painful meetings all day - but it still counts as work because I was up at 6:30 and had to be there till 3:30.  Ugh.  It was a stressful day for many reasons, including the "paper diet," my 700 IEPs, and the weirdness of oh so many people.  So when I got home, I needed to relax, and that means hours in the kitchen tonight!

Nick had made pulled pork today, which I really don't eat, so I knew I needed to make something to call a "side dish" (AKA my main course but everyone else's sides).  I scanned my favorite food blog, and found it quickly: stuffed tomatoes.  Well, the official name is "tomatoes stuffed with green rice," but the rice isn't green, and that sounds weird, so I am calling them stuffed tomatoes.  They were actually very easy to make; cook rice halfway, and mix it with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and the strained juice of the hollowed tomatoes.  Bake, and you're done!  And they were delicious!  Shockingly, they were delicious even though I actually forgot to add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!  I bet they would be even more amazing with the cheese than they already were, and they were great.  Mom even loved it!  And if that doesn't convince you that these were great, Alex ate one.  And Alex hates tomatoes!  That is quite the compliment.  The rice ends up tasting like garlicky herby rice with a hint of tomato, and the tomatoes themselves roast up into the softest, most delicious tomato imaginable.  If you have some tomatoes to use up that may be getting a bit soft, try this recipe.

Then it was time for dessert (really it was time for bed but I was still trying to relax).  I had pinned a recipe for brownies made with zucchini that made the claim that no one could tell they were healthy.  And I had a huge zucchini to use up.  So I figured I would try the recipe out.  I was nudged in that direction when Laura said she had tried them last night, and they were a big hit.  Besides the fact that I ran out of eggs in the middle of the recipe, they were actually really easy to make.  I made them without using my mixer, and, more interestingly, without butter!  They really are healthy, I wasn't kidding!  They call for applesauce instead of butter or oil.  They also call for whole wheat flour, but I just used regular flour since I was too lazy to run out again.  And of course it called for 2 cups of grated zucchini. There were a few minutes of confusion when I realized that I was not totally sure if I had to peel the zucchini first or not.  After Googling I found out it doesn't really matter, but the skin can have lots of vitamins and nutrients in it and is a good idea as long as it doesn't seem extra thick and tough, which it didn't.  So the skin stayed on. 

35 minute later, they came out of the oven - and they were delicious.  Mom claimed they were the best chocolate cake she ever had (they are brownies but that's beside the point!).  Rachael, Jack and Allie all ate two pieces, and even Nick had a piece (I may or may not have neglected to mention to him that they were healthy and made with zucchini).  A surprising amound of them were devoured tonight!  Even I liked them.  They are really cakey and fudgy, with a great chocolatey taste.  I love the chocolate chips in there; they melt and give the brownie pockets of extra chocolate flavor.    And the zucchini just keeps them extra moist.  Definitely make these brownies if you have a zucchini to use!

And now I should get to bed... 22 ten-year-olds - brand spanking new fifth graders - await me tomorrow morning : /

stuffed tomatoes
healthy zucchini brownies

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