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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Ravioli springboard for company meal

Thursday, July 01, 1999

When you think of people who like to cook, you might be tempted, if you rely on stereotypes, to conjure up an apron-clad grandmother kneading bread.

Well, get that image out of your head.

Karen Mahoney, 43, loves nothing more than riding her motorcycle. But sometimes you can find her in the kitchen, too.

A secretary for a construction company, the divorced Jeannette woman puts her cooking knowledge to good use. This year she's on the food committee for the Westmoreland County ABATE (Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education) Toy Run, which raises money for the Westmoreland County Children's Bureau.

She's a district representative for her chapter of ABATE, which means she reports to the state-level organization about her chapter's activities.

The chapter is involved with Operation Save-a-Life, a program that teaches students and community groups about what it's like to be a motorcyclist and how to drive safely around them. "Look twice, save a life," she quotes.

She's even been to places such as Daytona and Sturgis on her bike. But she enjoys cooking too. She came up with this recipe after eating something similar at a restaurant, then trying to copy it at home.

We found the dish tasty, but we'd probably use about 6 cups of spinach -- the spinach cooks down quite a bit. Two of the ingredients are optional, just squeaking under our 6 ingredient limit. Definitely go for the pignolia nuts -- they add a lot of interest.

For her efforts, Mahoney wins a cookbook from the Post-Gazette's stash. You could too. Just look at the rules below, then choose your favorite fast recipe and drop a copy in the mail. -- Tested by Rebecca Sodergren

Company Ravioli

1 (24-ounce) package frozen cheese ravioli
cup olive oil4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine (optional)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach (or more to taste)
1 4-ounce package feta cheese, any flavor
1 large, ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup pignoli nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook ravioli according to package directions.

In skillet, sauté garlic and onion (if using) in olive oil until opaque. Add spinach, reduce heat, cover and cook until spinach is thoroughly done. Add small amounts of water if needed to cook spinach.

Drain ravioli and place, single layered, in a rectangular baking dish. Pour spinach mixture over ravioli. Top with tomato, feta cheese and nuts. Bake in oven about 8 minutes or until hot.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to:nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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