Saturday, November 7, 2015

After time change, a few of my favorite dishes are really comforting

A hearty breakfast of leftover whole-wheat pasta shells with sardines and two organic eggs with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese really helps me shake off the blahs.

Editor's note: I've added another favorite comfort food, organic quinoa. And the cooking time for 365 Everyday Value Organic Whole Wheat Shells from Whole Foods Market ($1.49) is only 8-9 minutes, not the 14-15 minutes listed on the box.


Daylight Savings Time is especially challenging because it scrambles such routines as when you get up in the morning and when you feel like having dinner.

After we turned the clocks back one hour on Nov. 1, I often find myself wide awake at 6 a.m., then realize my body thinks it's 7, when I usually get up with the help of an alarm.

Dinner hunger pangs are now hitting in mid-afternoon, earlier than during the rest of the year, when we eat dinner at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.

There also seems to be a shortage of sunlight in the mornings and an early exit for the sun in the afternoons, leading to a pronounced case of the blahs.

Taken all together, my thoughts have been turning to favorite comfort foods, including pasta, mashed sweet potatoes, eggs and omelets.

A 10-inch omelet made with three organic whole eggs -- stuffed with reduced-fat Swiss cheese, smoked wild salmon and Mexican-style salsa -- is another hearty breakfast, especially when served with mashed sweet potatoes and Kabocha squash, and a couple of pieces of stewed tofu.

One box (Organic Whole Wheat Shells from Whole Foods Market), one bottle (the 40-ounce Victoria Marinara from Costco Wholesale) and three cans (Season-brand skinless-and-boneless Sardines, also from Costco) combine to make one of my favorite dinners. Optional are red wine, extra-virgin olive oil, a can of rinsed and drained anchovies, and dried Italian seasoning added to the sauce before you heat it up.

I've heard Italians add bread crumbs, not grated cheese, to seafood pastas, such as shells with sardines. It's good I'm not Italian, because I sometimes enjoy a sheep's milk cheese, Pecorino Romano, on the dish. To complete this dinner, pour a glass or two of red wine and finish with a big salad dressed in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For breakfast, I prepared three great items from Costco Wholesale in an electric rice cooker -- Nature's Intent Organic Quinoa, Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes and peeled Christopher Ranch California Garlic Cloves, with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. A great bread substitute, quinoa also has fewer carbs than pasta or rice.

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