Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We aren’t here to talk turkey. Today is Dine with a Friend, Play with Dad and National Parfait Day. Those are all worthy of attention.
Let’s start with Play with Dad. As children, we loved to romp around with dear ol’ Dad. That need not stop just because we’re all grown up. Not a family holiday or back yard barbecue doesn’t involve playing with Dad. And it’s almost always while gathered round the table. My Dad loves games, especially cards. And we love spending time with him. The memories we make round the table will last a lifetime. You are never too old to play with Dad.
Dine with a friend. That’s wide open for interpretation. Do we invite a friend out to dinner? Do we invite a friend over for a home cooked meal? Or better yet, we could ring their door bell with Pizza in hand. Dining with a friend is more important than you realize, especially as we get older. Isolation leads to poor health at a time in our lives when staying healthy is so important. Studies have shown that even when dining alone, if we dine where people gather, it’s good for our mental well-being. So if you see someone who is dining alone, invite them to your table. Sharing is uplifting. And showing compassion for strangers is good for the soul. Equally important is taking the time to break bread with the people in our lives, be a sibling or grown children or even a neighbor. It takes more than blood relations to create family ties. It’s love that binds us to one another.
I know for most American Cooks, tomorrow is a busy day. So for today, Dine with a Friend and National Parfait Day need not be complicated. A simple Casserole and Light Dessert is perfect, don’t you think?
Italian Baked Ziti with Cheesy Pinwheels
2-1/2 cups Ziti Pasta
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Italian Sausage
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 jar (26 oz) Marinara Pasta Sauce
3 cups fresh Baby Spinach
2 cups Italian Cheese Blend
1 can refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet
Heat oven to 375-degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Cook pasta al-dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef and Italian Sausage together, seasoned with 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and the salt. Brown meats over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Stir pasta, marinara and into beef mixture. Trim any stems from the spinach, leaving only the tender parts of the leaves. Scatter spinach over the pasta mixture and fold gently until well blended. Spoon into baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Set aside.
In small bowl, mix remaining 1 cup cheese and remaining 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning until well blended. Set aside.
Unroll dough. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over dough; press into dough.
Starting at short side, roll up; press edges to seal. With serrated knife, cut roll into 12 slices; place cut side down on top of cheese in baking dish.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crescents are golden brown and flaky. Serve with a simple toss salad for a delicious supper.
Zabaglione Berry Parfaits
1 basket Fresh Strawberries
1 pint fresh Raspberries
Splash of Marsala Wine
7 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Granola
Set aside 6 of the best strawberries. Slice remaining berries and place into a bowl. Rinse raspberries, place in a separate bowl. Sprinkle bowls of berries with Marsala wine. Chill until ready to assemble.
Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat until the water maintains a strong simmer. Separate eggs, reserve whites for another purpose. Place the egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar into a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water. Beat constantly with a wire whisk until the Zabaglione turns pale yellow and thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream. Scrape the Zabaglione into a clean mixing bowl, and set over ice, stirring occasionally until cold. The Zabaglione will continue to thicken as it cools.
In wine glasses or parfait glasses, place a layer of strawberries. Sprinkle berries with granola. Top with Zabaglione. Place a layer of raspberries over the first layer of Zabaglione. Sprinkle granola over the raspberries, then top with a second layer of Zabaglione. Place a whole strawberry on top. Chill until ready to serve.