In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Indiana Weather, My Mother-In-Law and Italian Food

Don’t you love Indiana weather?  Remember my March 30, post.…the one about the snow….well, today is April 10, and it’s a muggy 84 degrees outside.  Honestly, you never know what the weather is going to do around here.  I took the girls to the park on Thursday, and I was chilly in my long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt and light jacket.   By Friday, I was sweating in my tank top and light cardigan.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some storms this week that bring in colder weather and who knows….maybe even snow….you really never know what’s gonna happen around here when it comes to the weather!
Anyway, moving on to other news. My mother-in-law came to visit this weekend.  She spends half of the year in Florida and half of the year in Indiana, so it was good to spend some time with her.  We haven’t seen her since we took her and my mom on a cruise this past January, so this was her first time seeing the new house.  She drove up from her home in Indiana last night and had to catch a flight back to Florida this morning, but we’ll take any time with her we can get.
So that brings me to my next little bit of blogging news…..DINNER!  I didn’t know what to make my mother-in-law for dinner, but I thought I couldn’t go wrong with an Italian bistro meal.  I made her one of Matt’s favorite meals, and it’s really easy to throw together.  This is also a meal that my mom often requests when she comes to visit, so I thought I’d try it on my mother-in-law.  I made a spinach and sun dried tomato pizza, caprese salad and hot spinach and artichoke dip with toasted baguette.

Who doesn’t love making an easy pizza ~ especially one with spinach and sun dried tomatoes?  Ok…so maybe it’s not for everyone….but you can use whatever ingredients you like.  Matt and I really like the fresh taste of the ingredients I use.  First, put a pre-made pizza crust on my pizza stone (if you feel the urge, you can make your own crust….I never seem to feel that urge), and drizzle the crust with olive oil.  Then, top the pizza with lots of fresh spinach, plenty of shredded mozzarella cheese, a little bit of fresh basil, and some baby bella mushrooms.  Put the pizza in a preheated oven at 400 degrees, and let it bake until the toppings have melted and the crust turns golden brown.  Once you see that the toppings are starting to melt (about five to seven minutes before the pizza is finished), pull the pizza out of the oven and add marinated sun dried tomatoes.  If you leave the tomatoes in the oven too long they burn, and you definitely don’t want that to happen.  When it’s done, enjoy the fresh taste of an easy pizza that you made in your own kitchen.

My husband LOVES caprese salad.  He has a thing for fresh basil….he loves the stuff!  If you don’t already know what caprese salad is, it’s basically tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.  Just Google it, and I’m sure tons of recipes will pop up.   I don’t really have an exact recipe for you.  I just mix the basic ingredients together until it looks and taste the way I want it to.  I start by using one box of grape tomatoes. I cut them in half and put them in a bowl. I drain and slice some fresh mozzarella and add it to the tomatoes.  Then, I add lots of chopped fresh basil leaves.  I add about two table spoons of balsamic vinaigrette (you don’t want to add too much so pour slowly).  Lastly, I drizzle in some olive oil.  I mix it all up, and I put it in the fridge to chill before serving. 

There are tons of recipes for hot spinach and artichoke dip out there, but here is how I make mine.  Thaw out a box of frozen spinach, and mix it with an 8oz pack of cream cheese, ¼ cup of mayonnaise,  1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, one cup of shredded mozzerella, one tbs. of dried basil and one small jar of marinated artichoke hearts.  Bake it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then, slice up a baguette and spread olive oil on the bread slices before putting it in the oven.  After the bread is toasted, take a clove of garlic and scrape it across the toasted bread slices. The creamy dip and the crunchy bread make for a great appetizer to any Italian dinner, or in my case, a casual side dish for an easy pizza and caprese salad. J

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, all of this looks delicious! I think I will be making a meal like this soon! :-)