Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dinner Dilemmas-Pasta & Trees: Meh

It's time for Dinner Dilemmas once again. Before I dive into the recipe, let me first say that today was one of those days. A day when I tried really hard, and yet my efforts just did not yield the results I hoped for.

Wednesday is a "minimum day" in Oakland public schools, this means the bell rings at 1:30 instead of 2:45. I planned a play date with one of Zack's classmates as a way to pass the time. My hope was that the boys could at least partially entertain themselves.

I picked the boys up at school and served them snack once we arrived home. As soon as the last morsel of brownie was consumed the kids were looking at me as if to say "what's next?" Crud. Luckily I had prepared a holiday inspired craft, hand print turkeys. A simple project. We painted hands and left our imprints on foam. From there the idea was to decorate with markers, glitter, googly eyes and the like. The result? Zack had several meltdowns due to "mess ups," I was holding Captain No Nap, and trying to clean up paint spills with one hand. The pictures were cute, but not worth the tears...or the mess.

Now to the dinner. The recipe:

Pasta & Trees (Rachael Ray, Cooking Rocks! Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals For Kids)

1 pound broccoli tops

1 pound pasta (corkscrew)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp butter

3 cloves garlic

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan

Separate broccoli into small trees by pulling them apart. Put broccoli florets into a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and add 4 pinches of salt. Cook broccoli about 5 minutes. Drain.

Boil pasta water add 4 pinches of salt, add pasta. Cook until al dente.

Pour oil and butter into frying pan and heat over low heat. When butter melts add garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli to garlic.

Drain pasta and add to broccoli. Add ricotta and grated cheese and stir. Add salt and pepper.

My comments:

Just like the rest of my day... Meh. It was fine. Easy to prepare. Tasted fine. Rather bland. Perhaps perfectly kiddo-bland.

The Judges:


Three Stars. "It was okay mom" was about all I got out of my critic. He ate a good portion of it, but was not exactly licking his lips.


Evan seems a bit confused by our rating system. Like his brother he gave the dish three stars, but his comments were that "it wasn't good", and he really didn't eat much of anything. (Surprise, surprise!)

The result? Oh Rachael Ray, how I want to like you. We share the same name, you are cute and bubbly and believe in simple cooking, however this recipe was just so-so.... I spent $16.95 on your cookbook, so I will give you another shot.

So here is to a more spunky day tomorrow-better food, happier artists and a baby who naps!


  1. You try. I give you five stars for that. Some days thats a success all on it's own right? :)

  2. That sounds like a great recipe for kids. You used GLITTER???? Oy.

  3. a playdate, with a craft and cooking dinner....sounds incredibly ambitious to me! I think you definately get an A for effort :D