Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dinner for Eight - Reheated

Well, we had a great time at our dinner party on Friday night and all of the recipes turned out great. I ALMOST had a Sadie's Corner moment with the bacon mac and cheese (doesn't she look hopeful and hungry in this pic that I snapped of her during my cook & prep?!), but even though I forgot about the dish while it was finishing in the broiler, I was able to salvage our primary starch for everyone's enjoyment. (Note to self: don't start talking to guests and forget about a pasta dish in the broiler!!!)

I wanted to share the recipes that we enjoyed at dinner with you. To refresh you on our menu for the evening:


Our friends Derrick and Samantha introduced us to a wonderful, easy, and delicious chicken marinade that is perfect for the grill. The marinade only has three ingredients: preprepared pesto, horseradish mustard (I used stoneground mustard with horseradish), and Worcestershire sauce. I also added salt and pepper.

All you have to do is put the chicken breasts in a gallon-sized, zip-top plastic bag, add generous portions of preprepared pesto, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. After marinating, grill until done. The marinade produces a moist and delicious bird for your dining pleasure. Thanks Derrick and Samantha!


Recipe Notes
Costco had some great little Campari tomatoes on special, so I used this small, sweet tomato instead of the beefsteak tomato that this adapted Martha Stewart Food recipe calls for. In order to use the Campari tomatoes, I essentially quadrupled the number of tomatoes used (16 Campari vs. the 4 beefsteak tomatoes that the recipe calls for). The results were fabulous. This colorful side would be great with pretty much any beef or chicken preparation. As a side, this recipe serves 8.

Nutritional Information (8 servings)
142 calories - 5.6 g fat - 4.4 g protein - 2 g fiber

  • 4 beefsteak or 16 small Campari tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs (about 4 small slices white sandwich bread)
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp. finely-grated lemon zest
  • Fresh thyme (several sprigs)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Coarse salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a Cuisinart, combine white sandwich bread, Parmesan, lemon zest, thyme, and olive oil. Pulse until fine crumbs form.
3. Slice tomatoes to approximately 1/2 inch thickness and arrange in a 9x13 dish prepared with cooking spray.
4. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over tomatoes.
5. Bake until tomatoes are tender and crumbs are golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.


Recipe Notes
Frozen vegetables can be one of your best friends when it comes to getting dinner on the table quickly and easily. I used the "steam in bag" green beans that can be purchased in the freezer section, and it saved me literally an hour that I would otherwise have spent snapping beans and boiling them. The green beans can be steamed in the microwave in just five minutes - no snapping required! After steaming the green beans, add to a skillet and flavor with the crumbled bacon, lemon, butter, and salt & pepper. Keep the fat in the dish down by using center-cut bacon (which has 30% less fat but all of the flavor of regular bacon!) and also by using light butter, which has half the calories of regular butter.

  • One package frozen, "steam in bag" green beans
  • Two slices center-cut bacon, skillet-cooked, patted dry, and crumbled
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One tbsp. light butter
  • Sea salt and course-ground black pepper


1. Follow directions on green beans and steam until cooked (usually five minutes).
2. Add green beans to a skillet prepared with cooking spray over medium-low heat.
3. Add crumbled bacon, lemon juice, butter, and salt & pepper.
4. Saute until ingredients are incorporated and butter has melted completely. Serve immediately.


Recipe Notes
My broiler doesn't have a timer (and yours might not either!), so don't forget about this dish while it is finishing in the broiler. This Cooking Light adaptation was a crowd favorite, even though I did dry it out by leaving it in the broiler too long! This can also be a main dish meal, but the nutritional information included below is based on eight smaller side-dish servings.

The sauce is made using a slurry so that the butter and fat are kept to a minimum. A slurry is generally prepared with flour and a small amount of milk, which is done in this recipe as well.

Nutritional Information
300 calories - 9.4 g. fat - 15 g. protein - 1.5 g. fiber

  • 12 oz penne pasta, prepared according to package directions
  • 4 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 c. skim milk, divided
  • 2 c. finely-shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Sea salt and course-ground black pepper

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. Prepare the slurry - combine flour and 1/2 c. milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
3. Gradually add the remaining 1 c. milk to the slurry, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring to a boil. Cook one minute, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Let stand off heat for 4 minutes.
5. Stir in 1-1/2 c. shredded cheese with a whisk, add remaining ingredients to cheese mixture.
6. Toss pasta with the cheese sauce and pour into a 9x13 glass pan prepared with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese.
7. Broil 7 minutes and serve immediately.



  1. Looks and sounds delicious! Preparing your menu for dinner tonight ...

  2. I love this menu- that pesto chicken is brilliant because it is so easy!