The Elaborate Monthly: A Fabuloso Italian Dinner

Achievement: #34. Have One New Elaborate Homecooked Meal a Month

So, if you recall, back in 2010, we decided to try 26 different recipes from Cooking Light. This was *supposed* to be one recipe every two weeks, but it wound up being a lot of weeks with no recipe, and then a meal with three recipes. While it was delicious, it was a lot of work, and this year, Michael (who is the chef) decided to do something a little simpler: one elaborate meal a month.

So, this means a meal with all the important parts. If it’s a meat-based entree, we’ll do some tasty veggies on the side, or maybe even a classy dessert. Whatever it is, we have to have each bit require some effort – no microwaved green beans (regardless of the fact that those are pretty much the only vegetables I can manage to make on my own). And we have to do one each month, so no cheating, and cramming all twelve meals into December!

January’s meal was a slight-reconstruction on a dinner we had last year. Armed with some new suggestions on how to make the perfect bruschetta (one of my favorite things in life), we set out to create a flawless Italian dinner.

January Home Cookin'
Step one was to chop up some baby tomatoes and basil for the bruschetta spread. Since I am really bad with knives, Michael took care of this part.

January Home Cookin'
While he was hard at work with that bit, I asembled the other necessary parts of the meal. We are really in love with the Dreamfields brand of pasta, and have tried a lot of the different pasta types. It’s lower carb, and therefore less likely to knock us out after a plate. The bread is Giant Eagle’s olive oil sliced bread, but you will see what magic happened to it!

January Home Cookin'
Here’s a glimpse in the magical bowl of bruschetta! It’s a fairly simple blend: olive oil, tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Don’t you just wish you had some garlic toast lying around nearby? We baked the bread in the oven, and once it was nice and toasted, I rubbed each piece with a garlic wedge. Yum!

January Home Cookin'
Here is the table before we served our plates.

January Home Cookin'
And this is what the assembled plate looked like. I had about a million helpings of bruschetta, I must be honest.

So this was a great first step in our year-long Achievement, but next time, we may go out of our comfort zone a bit… I just got a great-sounding recipe for vegetable samosas, so maybe we’ll be changing up the ethnicity of the food each month as well!

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