How do you get a deliciously healthy family supper together when you have a late meeting and your husband has to pick your younger daughter up from a study session at a friend’s house across town? Not to mention stay on your diet?
Sounds like a job for the Weeknight Warriors! But this time, you tag team it. Here’s how we did it –
4:50 pm – Just before heading onto your late afternoon meeting, you find a great recipe on Eating Well.com site, which features 500 calorie dinners!
5:00 pm – Call Mr TBTAM to get his agreement on the meal choice, then email him a list so he can pick things up on his way home from work. Head to your meeting.
6:30 pm – Mr TBTAM, now home with gnocchi and spinach, heads into the kitchen to prep.
7:00 pm – Mr TBTAM sets the table, then leaves to pick up younger daughter. You leave the office and head home.
7:15 pm – You head straight from the front door to the kitchen, stopping only to don an apron, and start cooking. You feel like a TV chef with a staff of kitchen elves – the onions and garlic are all chopped, the can of tomatoes and beans are opened, the salad greens and spinach washed and everything is out on the counter waiting for you!
7:45 pm – Everyone’s home, dinner is on the table. Go Team!
Tag Team Gnocchi Skillet Casserole
Modified from Eatingwell.com. The big short cut in this meal is using prepared gnocchi, but feel free to use homemade. This dish would be good with pasta as well, but the gnocchi are really special. Serve with a green leaf salad with a light dressing to make it to 500 calories total. We made the goat cheese tomato dressing suggested on the website, but it ended up a bit too watery to post the recipe.
I modified the Gnocchi recipe from EatingWell by boiling the gnocchi first, using a tad more olive oil so the gnocchi would not stick (I use a stainless steel and not a non-stock skillet), spinach instead of swiss chard, increasing the onion to large, substituting chicken broth for water and adding some fresh basil and hot pepper flakes. My calorie count is about 20 calories more per serving than the recipe on the website, or about 340 calories. Of course, that’s only if your serving size is 1/6 of the total. Unfortunately, I think I ate about 1/5 of it, so I actually had about 400 calories. It’s all about portion size, isn’t it?
Boiling lightly salted water
1 16-ounce package gnocchi (We used Emilia brand from Fairway, also at Trader Joe’s)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or a tsp pesto)
salt to taste
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a strong rolling boil. Add gnocchi and cook, usually for 2-3 minutes, removing them with a slotted spoon to a colander as they pop to the top of the water. Drain.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over almost high heat. Add gnocchi and saute for about 5 minutes, turning them gently with a fork as they brown lightly. (Try not to eat any.) Transfer gently to a bowl. (Surprisingly, they don’t break apart.)
Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, then the chicken broth. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, basil, pepper and pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Cook off any excess water that may have accompanied the tomatoes (next time I will drain the tomatoes).
Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.