February 13, 2011

February’s Sweet with ShopRite Treats

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ShopRite issued us Potluck bloggers a challenge: to create a great Valentine’s Day dinner for less than $25 — that amount being the ShopRite gift card we were given to use in putting it all together!

This is easy, with all the good values at ShopRite. A main course is usually the most expensive part of a meal, but with the new ShopRite Kitchen fresh pastas costing $3.99 to $5.99, it’s like going to a fine Italian restaurant for practically nothing!

The timing is perfect, since College Boy is home this weekend, and pasta is his favorite, so our Sunday evening meal is going to feature fresh Three Cheese and Spinach Ravioli. This is the only way I can get my finicky kid to eat greens! Since cooking up the ravioli will be a breeze, I have time to make a from-scratch sauce, especially since it’s TV’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice’s “The Quickie” basic sauce. I interviewed Teresa for my Food Chain blog when her book “Skinny Italian” came out, and this sauce (or gravy, as she sometimes calls it) is wonderful and easy to make. See the recipe below.

Served with a simple side salad, the ravioli is filling but leaves room for one of my favorite, simple desserts, made with what to me is the best ShopRite ingredient ever: Imported Hazelnut Spread. College Boy has already had some this weekend in his favorite breakfast, French toast made out of ShopRite Pandoro, a traditional tall, Italian sweet yeast bread that is shaped like an 8-pointed star. When you slice it horizontally, each slice is like a big, thick, golden-brown star. But topping it with hazelnut spread and then dusting with powdered sugar (which comes with the Pandoro) is great for dessert, too.

The rich and creamy spread is made with freshly roasted hazelnuts and chocolate, and we use it in every form we can think of: as a filling in crepes or stuffed pancakes, or as a dip for apples, bananas or cherries. That’s what my Valentine’s weekend dessert is going to be: dark, sweet cherries from ShopRite (they’re freshly imported even in the dead of winter!). Dipped in the hazelnut spread and lined up on the plate, they even look like little Valentine hearts with stems!

Teresa Giudice’s “Quickie” Tomato Sauce
(from “Skinny Italian” Hyperion Books, $19.99)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
One 28-ounce can ShopRite Imported San Marzano Tomatoes, broken up, with their juices
1/cup ShopRite tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste. Bring just to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the basil. Simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Stir and serve over ShopRite Kitchen fresh ravioli or tortellini.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a POTLUCKTM blogger, I received a $25 Gift Card from ShopRite for free.