Thursday, March 19, 2009

Springtime Dinner Date!

Spring is in the air... well, almost. It's still quite chilly in Massachusetts most days lately, but Friday is the first day of spring, and last night happened to be deliciously warm (i.e., 60 degrees. That's warm for us). Celeste and I took the kiddos to the playground and then came to my house for a dinner date that paid tribute to spring!

Baked Veggie Sandwiches
(a.k.a. Miracle Sandwiches*)

1 recipe Super Easy Pizza Dough, prepared through the first rise
2-3 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup finely chopped asparagus
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped spinach, stems removed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Marinara sauce for dipping, optional

Divide the pizza dough into two portions. Set aside until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Heat the 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium-size skillet. Add the asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until spinach is wilted and the vegetables are softened. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat an 8x8" baking dish with non-stick spray. Gently stretch one half of the pizza dough to fit the bottom of the pan. Top with 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar. Layer on all of the cooked vegetables. Top the vegetables with remaining cheddar. Gently stretch the other half of the pizza dough to fit over the top.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is slightly golden. Slice into bars to serve, with marinara sauce as desired.

(* why are these Miracle Sandwiches? Because Abby actually ate spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. That is a miracle!)

Oatmeal Flower Cookies

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
colored sugar for decorating (can be made easily by adding 1-2 drops of food coloring to a tablespoon of sugar, mix well)

Grind the oats in a food processor until finely ground. In a large bowl, stir together the ground oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in vanilla and eggs; beat until creamy. Stir in the oat-flour mixture until well-combined. Chill dough for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Gather half-teaspoons of dough and roll into balls. Dip the top of the balls in colored sugar. Arrange 6 balls together to form a flower. The flowers will spread, so keep them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. (Getting tired of forming all these flowers? Round out the batch by taking a tablespoon of dough, shaping it into a disk, and dipping the top in colored sugar.)

Bake for about 9 minutes, until the cookies are golden. Let cool completely before eating.

* * * * *

This dinner went over well with both big girls - and with baby Lizzy, too, who was very happy to chomp away on bits of the sandwiches! The cookies are low-sugar, but the girls didn't mind one bit. So I say, if you can "treat" your kid with a low-sugar option, why not? They didn't miss a thing, but still felt like they got dessert.


Tia said...

Both of those look delicious! Will be trying for sure!

emily said...

I made the cookies and loved them and so did my two year old - he loved making them into the flower shapes too. I like that they are whole grain, lower in sugar and still have that great oatmeal cookie taste. Thanks for the great ideas. I can't wait to try more!

Kara said...

Emily, I'm so glad you and your 2-yr-old liked them! I froze a few unbaked cookies, and we're still dipping into them. It's nice to have a "treat" that doesn't make me feel totally guilty! :-)