Frittata with Orzo and Ham

October 24, 2014

Weekday mornings are a freakshow at my house. Is it just me? Please, let it not just be me.

I don’t get it. Even though I make lunches the night before, make sure homework is done and favorite t-shirts are clean, get the backpacks loaded and ready, set alarm clocks in advance…it’s still chaos. Just pure pandemonium.

Someone can’t find her library book. Or her gym shoes. Or the hairbrush. Someone’s going through a growth spurt of epic proportions and needs three breakfasts before heading out the door. The dog is desperate to go outside and the cat is sneaking dog food and Holy Jesus, who clogged that toilet?

If there’s any trick or shortcut that can make my mornings even a sliver more manageable, I jump on it.

In my case, it’s the humble frittata. If I have slices of frittata on hand, there’s at least one person in the morning who I don’t have to worry about: my husband.

Yeah, I make my husband breakfast on weekday mornings. Doesn’t everyone?

You do, right?

Ahem.

Well, in any case, I do. He works really hard and chalks up some serious hours at the hospital, and I just feel better if I can send him off in the morning with something nourishing in his belly, so he won’t be chowing on a big, greasy bear claw or donut later.

Frittatas fit the bill. I make a huge frittata loaded with goodies on Sunday, let it cool, and then cut it into individual portions, wrap ‘em up, and it’s ready for the week.

A week overflowing with freakshow mornings that I never seem to get a handle on.

This frittata is a little different, because it uses pasta in place of the usual potatoes. I like it because it feels a little bit lighter than the potato-studded variety, and it slices beautifully and keeps together well when portioned out and stored in the refrigerator. My husband likes it because it’s delicious and reheats like a dream.

Even if you aren’t afflicted with freakshow mornings, you should give this a try. It also makes for a terrific lunch or light supper when paired with a green salad (and perhaps a glass of Pinot Grigio).  You’ll love it, I promise.

 

Frittata with Orzo and Ham

adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentis

serves 5-6

 

3/4 cup orzo pasta

6 eggs

1/3 cup whole milk ricotta

1/4 cup sour cream

2 cups diced cooked ham

2 chopped shallots

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 375.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta and sour cream. Whisk together until everything is combined. Add the cooked pasta, ham, shallots, parsley, roasted bell pepper, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into a well-buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Turn on the broiler and place the dish under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the frittata is golden on top. Cut into wedges.

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Hi Readers! Are you enjoying the beautiful fall colors? The trees are bursting with fiery glory right now, and I love studying all the colors when I take my daily walk–it’s so gorgeous that it almost makes me sad, because I know those beauties won’t last.

 

There I go, doing it again: mourning the loss of something before it’s even gone. Gaa.

 

A few fall tidbits I’d like to catch you up on:

~ We didn’t go to Texas this past weekend. Miss D. caught a nasty cold and between that and all of the Ebola madness, we decided that it just wasn’t worth it. Instead, we spent the weekend doing family things: the Nature and Science Museum, the movie The BoxTrolls (cute), pizza dinners, and lots of swinging and jumping on the trampoline, as the weather was glorious. I’d call that a fair trade.

~ While we were wandering around the museum, I happened to catch Miss D. and Miss M. walking around hand-in-hand. This just melted me. The fact that my almost 13-year old will allow her little sister to still hold her hand in public is nothing less than huge.  My husband also overheard Miss D. telling M., “you’re the best sister ever.”  Of course, once my husband let her know that he heard, D. was mortified and made quite a show of being embarrassed. Ah, the teenage years. They’re such a treat.

~ We head to the middle school this week for parent/teacher conferences. Should be interesting–it’s always good to hear what teachers think of your kid at this age, and how they behave in school. They’re such mysteries at this point in their lives; extra perspective is always appreciated. I kind of feel like Miss D. is some exotic zoo animal, and I’m the keeper, looking through the glass. Is that weird?

~ Miss M. has TWO social events with friends this coming weekend; a birthday party and a haunted gingerbread house-making class. TWO! In one weekend! What a difference a year makes. It makes my heart happy to see her thriving in third grade.

~ I had to take our cat, Aria, to the vet yesterday. She’s been losing weight, and it kind of flew under our radar, until I went to pick her up the other day and realized that she weighs hardly anything and I can feel prominent ribs. We adopted her a year and a half ago, and she was a chunk back then, so it’s concerning. They’re doing a blood and urine workup, but while we were there, the vet felt a lump in Aria’s leg. She took an x-ray, and the bump was actually an old bullet lodged in her flank. That was crushing enough, but then she showed me the film, and Aria actually has THREE bullets in her body, two in her hind end and one dangerously close to her spine. Realizing that poor Aria had that in her past made me feel so sad for her, and so angry at humans. Who could be so cruel? I sniffled all the way home in the car and promptly fed her a can of premium tuna. It will be a few days before the blood results come in, but we’re hoping it’s nothing serious. That baby has been through enough!

^ back in the Chunk-O days

 

~ I made a huge pot of homemade marinara sauce this weekend. As the nights get cooler, my thoughts turn to more rib-sticking fare, and it’s always good to have a few containers of marinara in the freezer. If you recall, after this debacle a few years ago, I try not to buy the jarred stuff any more. This particular recipe is terrific because it makes quite a bit and it’s delicious! I used mine to make Portobello Parmesan, but this week I’m using it to sauce a batch of turkey meatballs.  What could be cozier than some pasta and meatballs–perfect for fall.

^ Cheesy mushroom love, right there.

 

 

Marinara Sauce

serves 8

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onions, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

1 (24 oz) can tomato puree

1 (24 oz) can fire-roasted whole tomatoes, with juice

1 (4 0z) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 dried bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

optional: pinch of sugar

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

 

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, salt and pepper. Saute 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add wine and stir. Cook a minute. Add all tomato products, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered over low heat until sauce is rich and thickened, about an hour. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Let cool a bit and whizz until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste for salt and pepper. Re-heat over low flame. If desired, add fresh torn basil leaves.

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Birthday Boys

October 16, 2014

 

This is going to be a quickie drive-by kind of post, as I’m busy getting the family packed up for our long weekend in Texas–nothing like taking the girls to the only state boasting the Ebola virus, but hey…*

I just felt the need to make a toast ^ to my birthday boys, who both turned a year older this week.

Mozz man got spoiled rotten on his birthday with some King Salmon and homemade dog treats (which I did NOT take a photo of because they were ugly brown nuggety-things, but Mozz loved them). Recipe later.

I may have let him chase the cat a little more than usual, just to make his day extra special.

And hey, do you think we need to get some new trampoline pads when this winter is over? Umm, last year’s devastating floods really did a number on those suckers. Don’t judge.

Mozzy didn’t get any presents, and turns out, the birthday husband doesn’t get any either this year. Maybe because someone is getting a new car in a few weeks.

Hmph.

He’s already acting like he’s cooler than me.

 

But lucky for him, he’s also the kindest, funniest, whip-smartiest person in the whole world. And man, is he a kick-ass father. How he has the patience for this loony crew he has to share space with, I don’t know.

But I’m glad he’s mine. I’ll keep him.

Happy birthday, baby.

 

*Actually, as you read this, we’re waiting for the Dallas telecast today and will decide whether to travel based on that and some hours doing extensive reading. We may not be airborne, after all.

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