Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dinner tonight

I managed to get home earlier tonight than usual, and with the beautiful weather we are having, was inspired to cook dinner that we could eat together.

I used Eating Well's recipe for Broccoli-Cheddar Chowder as a guide. I did not have a potato, but I had other veggies (zucchini, about 6 celery stalks, 2 carrots, onion, broccoli). I cooked the veggies in a wee bit of olive oil until some of the onions and carrots browned, then braised them with a cup of water (no stock available) to loosen up the browned bits. I then added the rest of the liquid (28 oz in all) and about 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, and simmered. I used regular Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (hand shredded -- the best!), low-fat sour cream, and about 1/3 cup whole cream because I had some that needed using up. DELISH!

I also made mini-corn muffins to go with. Grabbing a Yazoo Brewmaster's Reserve on the way to watch Wipeout with dinner and hubby!

Mine mostly looks like this (from Eating Well's recipe page)!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lasagna Florentine Roll-Ups

Florentine Roll-ups (recipe modified from San Giorgio pasta)

16 oz. box of uncooked lasagna noodles (I used whole-wheat)
4 cups (2 lbs) ricotta or cottage cheese (I used part-skim ricotta)
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese (I used mozzarella)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach (I used more like 4 or 5 cups)
1/2 cup sliced green onion (I used 1/2 a large sweet)
1 egg, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups (26 oz) tomato/spaghetti sauce

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; run under cold water to cool off. Drain, then lay separately on cutting board or piece of foil.

2. In large bowl stir together cheeses, spinach, onion, egg, salt and pepper (I also added in Italian seasoning mix).

3. Spread about 1/3 cup cheese mixture on each piece of pasta to within 1inch of end; roll up. Repeat with all noodles (I had approx. 16 noodles).

4. In bottom of baking dish (either one 13x9x2 or two 8x8) spread 2/3 cup tomato/spaghetti sauce. Place roll-ups seam side down in dish. Top with remaining sauce.
*At this point you can cover with foil and freeze the dish(es). Add cheese before baking. Bake at 350 for 45-90 minutes, if baking from thawed (45 mins) or frozen (90).

5. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 45 mins. at 350 degrees F.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did you know?

That you can cook hot cereal in the rice cooker? I just made Bob's Red Mill 10-grain cereal mix in my rice cooker. I used a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts water to 1 equal part cereal). It was done in less than 15 minutes. No standing at the stove. No stirring. Just done. LOVE IT!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Freezer Eating!

I spent Tuesday doing fieldwork, which meant I was really tired and hungry by the time I picked up the boy from daycare, stopped at the store for some essentials and made it home. Fortunately, we have plenty of good and tasty food in the freezer! I was able to make a quick stop by the house before heading to daycare, so I was able to turn on the oven and pop in one of the pans of enchiladas. It was so nice to come home to a meal that was hot and just waiting to be devoured!

Now I am dreaming of the day when I have an oven that can be programmed to refrigerate the dish and then start cooking it in time for dinner. I am sure there must be something like that out there, but probably not affordable at this point!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Freezer Cooking -- 9.11 and 9.12

The further into the semester we get the crazier and more hectic our schedules become. It is so easy to let nutrition fall to the wayside (it usually lands right next to exercise, the first to fall) during these times, that I always feel the need to take a stand. I know through careful and casual self-observation that I am a better person -- mentally, physically, and emotionally -- when I eat healthfully. Freezer Cooking is my stand against junk eating. Last fall my sister and I spent a glorious Fall Break weekend cooking, cooking, and cooking some more. We made no less than 16 different recipes in large enough quantities to stock up both our freezers for the second half of the semester. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get together to do it again, so I had to take matters into my own hands. Our old freezer (7+ years) was on the fritz so we bought a new one. It seems smaller on the outside, but overall is the same or slightly bigger than the last one. I love that it has a lock, power light, and temperature controls all on the outside! I know, I am a freezer nerd!

I am hoping that these meals and staples will get us through the next few weeks until there is time to replenish the freezer again. I will list here what I made and provide links to recipes that have them!

Lasagna Florentine Roll-ups -- I have been wanting to make these for 7 years (according to the date on the recipe I have been saving). I used whole wheat noodles which I think is a wise choice as they can stand up to all the handling, freezing, and cooking.

Pinto Beans -- nothing special or fancy. I just cooked up a big pot (with a few bay leaves) so I can freeze in gallon bags. Beans of all shapes and sizes are a huge staple for us.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls -- I really wanted to have these made for this morning, but I was out of AP flour, so I now have two pans in the freezer -- ready for when the urge hits next!

Oatmeal Pancake Mix -- this is my sister's favorite mix and it is ingenious in that you keep it in the freezer and use as needed. You mix 1 cup of the mix with 1 cup buttermilk and 1 egg, and voila! awesome pancakes!

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix  -- I made this today so I can use it in this recipe (Coconut Tres Leches Cake) for a potluck dinner I am attending later this week.

Enchilada Casserole, Two Ways. I made up a recipe for this. One pan is a layered enchilada casserole using a mix of kasha/spinach/cream cheese/taco seasoning alternately layered with corn tortillas, red sauce, pinto beans, and shredded monterey jack cheese. The other is more traditional in that the enchiladas are rolled (filled with either the kasha mix and cheese OR freshly roasted peppers from our garden and cheese). The latter is being eaten tonight!

Sesame Sprinkle -- thank you Mark Bittman!

Okra Ratatouille  -- basically a ragout of fresh okra, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and pickled garlic. SO GOOD!

I still have a few more things I want to make but ran out of time. Oh well, maybe in a few weeks!