Friday, January 19, 2007

Laidback Lunches - Stromboli

spinach and kale stromboli
spinach and kale stromboli with marinara sauce

You wake up at the crack of dawn. You wish you could luxuriate under the warm blankets for just a little while longer. You want to finish those dreamy happy thoughts that come to you in that half-asleep, half-awake state in the morning. You wish you could wake up to a sound other than the blaring ear-numbing shriek of the alarm. "Is it a weekend?", you wonder. "Did I forget to switch off the alarm last night? What day was yesterday? Please, let it have been a Friday, Please!!"

But no! It is not the weekend. you cannot lie there in bed! you have to wake up. It is a week day and a million things need to be done. For starters, there is school. You have to get them ready. If it wasn't for them, you could sleep in an extra half an hour. The thought is very tempting, and you slip into a little flashback...of the days before them. Days when you had that extra time in the morning for a leisurely cup of chai and the crossword. Days when you could linger in a hot shower forever...Days when.....You shake your head and try to brush those thoughts away. You shouldn't be thinking about them in such a negative way in the morning. "Shame on you, What kind of a Mom are you?", you chide yourself.

You have to wash them and get them ready for school. Some primping and prepping, a little tugging and tucking, a dab of this and a dab of that and finally they are ready! You pack them off with a flourish and rush to the stop to catch the bus. Of late they have been missing the school bus a little too frequently and you have had to drop them off at school. You fervently wish that today won't be such a day. You have a million errands to run and you don't want to make an extra stop at the school to drop them off. You break into a sprint just as the bus rounds the corner. You see them off on the school bus and heave a sigh of relief that the crazy rush of the morning is behind you.

The rest of the day goes by in a blur and before you know it, it is afternoon. They will be home soon. You anxiously await the return of the school bus. You find yourself wondering how they would have fared in school. Would they have been popular and in demand? or neglected and ignored? did you rise to the challenge as a mother? did you do well? would the others have passed judgement on them? commended you for your efforts?

With great anxiety you pounce on them when they get home and look at them with a critical eye. YES! they are clean as a whistle and licked clean! "'twas good Ma!" says your normally taciturn 11 year old and your heart starts to sing. You go into the kitchen and do a little happy jig.

The lunches you packed for the kids were a success! Your efforts in the morning were worth it. That 1/2 hour of sleep that you gave up was worth it! The kids loved their lunch and ate it all.

Well, what did you think I was going on about? I was talking about "lunch boxes" and life before "them". The kids??? Oh, compared to the trouble of making "kid approved school lunches", raising kids is a piece of cake!!

An extra half-hour of sleep? No problem! you will gladly give that up if the kids will eat their lunch. One whole hour? Ok, don't push it now!!

Here's a recipe for spinach & kale stromboli. Very nutritious with the greens and very yummy with the cheese. The filling is quite easy to prepare and you can make it the night before. In the morning, you just have to assemble and bake the stromboli. You can even bake the whole thing the night before and just pack it for lunch the next day and sleep in that extra half-hour :)

The basic idea was inspired by this recipe from Rachael Ray. I made the filling according to my preference.

stromboli stuffing stromboli before baking
Stromboli dough with filling

Ingredients:

1 can Pillsbury® Pizza Crust
3-4 generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves (or thawed frozen spinach)
3-4 medium kale leaves
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1 heaped tsp pesto sauce (I used store bought)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Boil water in a large pot.
  3. Add the kale leaves and once they wilt slightly, add the baby spinach leaves. If using frozen spinach, omit this step for the spinach. Thaw and squeeze out the extra water from the spinach and proceed to step 8.
  4. The spinach will wilt immediately.
  5. Remove the spinach and kale to a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes in it.
  6. Let cool slightly.
  7. Gently squeeze handfuls of the spinach and kale to remove all the water.
  8. Chop the greens finely.
  9. Add the finely chopped garlic, the pesto sauce, grated mozzarella cheese, chili flakes, 1 tsp of the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Open the can and unroll the pre-made pizza dough.
  11. Cut the crust vertically down the center to get 2 long pieces
  12. Spread the filling down the long rectangle, leaving a little bit of a border around the edges
  13. Roll the crust from the long side to get 2 long logs.
  14. Press down lightly along the edge to seal well.
  15. With a sharp knife, make a few slits in the log.
  16. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese and again press a little bit to make the cheese adhere to the dough.
  17. Bake for 12 minutes or till the stromboli is golden brown.
  18. Cut into pieces of desired size. I did mine about 5 inches long.
  19. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping or pack for a tasty lunch.


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