Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What I Made for Dinner: May 7, 2009

Ziti and broccoli casserole.

When I had my first apartment on my own, I got a cookbook and subscriptions to several cooking magazines. (I knew how to cook already--my mom had done a good job--but the things I could make were suited to a family, or to a fancier dinner party than I was ever going to have at twenty-two. I could make a standing rib roast with vegetables, for example. Not so much for one little person.)

Of all the sources I had, that first year I learned the most from Cooking Light Magazine.

Cooking Light was great for a beginner. The recipes were simple, used common ingredients, and (of course) had plenty of nutritional information. Even better, the magazine focused on teaching readers techniques they could cross-apply to many recipes. One of my favorites was a broccoli-rice casserole I still make nowadays. Instead of using cream or creamed soup, you make a simple bechamel (with lowfat milk) to thicken the casserole. That bechamel is unbelievably versatile for all kinds of casseroles. The result is cheesy and satisfying without being heavy.

So this meal was somewhere between my old standby broccoli casserole and baked ziti. Pasta was a nice sub for the rice, and I added diced tomatoes to up the veggie content. A success, improvised in the throes of a lot of paper-grading.

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