Flip a familiar dish and feel fulfilled

Brilliant colors, uber-creative ideas, and fantastic creations from humble beginnings are the siren call of Pinterest. Who hasn’t spent a pleasant hour or two admiring others’ abilities to make clothes pins into a baby crib or wire hangers into a chandelier?


We’d all like to think we’re going to put those old milk bottles to such excellent use or finally clean out our attic and create all of next year’s Christmas and birthday presents. But face it, most of those ideas just hover on our screens, taunting us with what could be.

In the 2013 spirit of avoiding guilt over our inability to achieve gigantean self-imposed expectations, I say start with remaking a familiar dish.

Really, it’s that simple. If you make mac and cheese several times a month, try making your own sauce, or add anything from lobster to cocktail sausages. Try mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, or pour brownie batter into mini-muffin cups with a filling of raspberry jam. It doesn’t take much to feel the satisfaction of tweaking the familiar into something better.

You don’t have to be a from-scratch cook to do it either. The other day, I pulled out our go-to, almost instant dinner staple, the can of pop and bake bread sticks. We have always dipped them in a little butter or olive oil, coated them with poppy seeds, twisted them into shape and baked them on a cookie sheet. Served with warm spaghetti sauce as a dipper, and a side salad, they make a great dinner.

This time though, I was ready for change. So, instead of dipping and twisting, I dipped and rolled and added some new ingredients. The results are a new, almost-instant dinner with more punch.

Maybe I should photograph the next batch for my Pinterest page. After all, repinners have to eat, too.

Italian Pull-Apart Rolls

Feeds three

2 Tbsp. butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried oregano, basil, thyme or a combination of the three

1 can of ready-to-bake bread sticks

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Have a pie plate handy.

Combine the butter, garlic and herbs in a saucepan and stir over low heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Reheat to liquid state if necessary.

Remove bread sticks from container onto a sheet of waxed paper. Dip each stick into the warm butter and roll up into a tight circle. Pinch the end to the dough roll. Place the rolls flat side up in the pie plate, top with the grated cheese and bake. If using a glass plate, bake 15-17 minutes. For metal plates, check the rolls after 13 minutes.




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