Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manicotti, my way.

Well basically "my way" is 90% of the way it says on the back of the Manicotti box- Has anyone other than me noticed how ridiculously expensive Ricotta cheese has gotten? Unless I get it at a wholesale store I'm spending almost $4 on a little container...sooo...the other day when I decided that this would be dinner soon, I happened upon a "3 for $5" sale on cottage cheese (true italians might want to leave the blog at this point)- So how did I make this meal? This meal that my husband is taking for lunch tomorrow (it's a win when that happens)... Oven at 350 Cook the manicotti noodles in boiling water for about 7 minutes-take them out-they should still be VERY al dente (they'll continue cooking in the oven) pour cold water over them to cool them off. Filling: 1 container of small curd cottage cheese (I dumped this into a strainer to get excess liquid out of it) 2 eggs 1 package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeeze the water out of it) 1 package of slice baby bella mushrooms 1/4 cup roasted red peppers 1 T chopped garlic Saute mushrooms and garlic in a tablespoon or so of olive oil for about 5 minutes-set aside to cool. At this point I pulled out the food processor- I ran the cottage cheese and eggs through then put them in a big bowl- I added the "wrung out" spinach to that as well- I didn't dice my mushrooms before saute, so I put those and the roasted red peppers for just a couple pulses in the food pro and added that to the cheese mix. Oh yeah, you'll need a jar of spaghetti sauce too... I put about 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of my pan, then with a spoon (and a mess) I filled the cooled manicotti noodles with the cheese mix- (in the box there were 14 noodles...I only made 7-one tray-it was just enough for the two of us for dinner and for his lunch tomorrow) Top it with the rest of the jar of spaghetti sauce- I dusted it with about a tablespoon of parmesean cheese and then about 1/3 cup shredded mozzerella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. I had filling leftover that I'm planning on doing a round two recipe with later this week. I really liked this dinner, and so did the husband. You don't miss the meat at all! I guess between "meat" flavored spaghetti sauce and the meaty bella mushrooms it makes it. The roasted reds give it just enough color and flavor that I would definately keep them in this recipe. How cool do I feel eating a vegetarian dinner too huh?

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Moon cupcakes

I have never professed to be a decorator. Ever. In fact even after this I STILL don't call myself that...but I think these did come out cute! When my Aunt got me Hello Cupcake and I saw the "wolves and moons" and with New Moon coming out just around the corner..I knew I had to make these for my standing date with my best friend!
The cake part was Chocolate Almond (it was a doctored mix, but I'll be happy to post it soon)
The icing was from a can.
So I did something new. I loved my bestie's reaction to the cupcakes, and we had a great time at what I thought was a GREAT movie..WAY better than the first!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Orange-Almond Cupcakes

TWLOHA is why I have it written on MY arm..check out the link if you want to know more. In my hand...is a delicious cupcake! You see I'm suffering from something OTHER than just being pregnant...my sweet tooth is broken. Yes...it's sad, but it seems that this new kid that I'm growing just doesn't have a fondness for it like I do. But I have a cupcake rule....I have to try at least ONE of whatever new cupcake I make. If I've made it tons of times, I can skip..but new recipes require me to eat at least ONE (and I try to shoot for ONLY one)....I've stuck with the only one rule with these, but if I let myself I could probably inhale a whole dozen! Onto the recipe! Orange-Almond Cupcakes (recipe from Cupcakes! From the Cake Doctor-Anne Byrn)

Almond Filling:

1/2 tube (or can in my case) almond paste

1 bag sliced almonds (that was kinda vauge..I didn't have a "bag" well I had a ziploc but I think I used like 2/3 of a cup)

Cupcakes:

1 yellow cake mix

1 pack of vanilla pudding mix

1 1/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 teas vanilla

1 teas almond extract

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 generous teaspoon fresh orange zest

2-4 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350

Line cupcake tins-

Prepare filling-crumble the almond paste and add the sliced almonds (my paste didn't really crumble so much as it did get more of a silly puddy consistency, but I think as long as the almonds are distributed throughout you should be ok)

Prepare the cupcake batter-put all ingredients (for the cupcakes) in the mixer-let it go for 30 seconds, do a scrape down, then let it go for about 2 minutes more. Should look pretty smooth and thickened. Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and mix that into your almond paste/almond mix in your separate bowl.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4s of the way, then spoon a heaping teaspoon full of your almond paste mixture into the centers.

Baked for about 18-20 minutes.

Put on baking rack to cool.

Ok..here is where this one differs for me. You'll strip these ladies. Nope..truth. That's what the recipe says..well..it doesn't say strip them..but it does say to remove the liners. Which is MUCH easier to do when they are cooler (they don't tend to crumble) and since you won't have good luck glazing when they are hot or even warm, it's best to let these little beauties TOTALLY cool, then strip them, then dip them. (for the glaze you just mix all your stuff together)

The book says to drizzle the glaze in a criss cross pattern. I'm more of a dipper and less of a drizzler..so I dunked the tops. Twice, then topped with sliced almonds.

YUM!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twice Baked Tuna Melt Potatoes

Wait what? How many times did you read the title of the post? But that's what it is..honestly! And in my humble (and pregnant) opinion...delicious. So how did I come up with this baby? Well... back in HS my favorite lunch day of the month was the Tuna or Bologna day. No really...I never got the bologna (for the record I don't do bologna unless it's a) a certain brand-Eckrich, and b) fried..moving on...) The kicker to this day was you got a baked potato with your choice of sandwich...AND a cup of cheese...eh? See where I'm going with this? I LOVED dunking the tuna sandwich on it's soft white bread into the hot cheese. Whatever cheese was left was put on the baked potato. Out of HS and no school lunches later my good friend Marcy (who is almost like a second Mom) started making me (I say me, I think I just happened to come over one day when she'd made them for lunch and decided from then on they were mine) Tuna Melts. Her Tuna Melts are perfect..although she doesn't even credit herself for the recipe. They are broiled to get the cheese all melty and just divine (esp with a bowl of cream of chicken soup). Ok..so if you aren't completely gagged out already at the background..keep reading..I'm hoping I'm not the ONLY one that digs this as a supreme comfort food. Also...I take advantage of the days I don't work and am home with the kiddo to make stuff I KNOW the husband won't eat. Stuff the husband would literally turn his nose up at, but stuff I love. So it's pretty basic. I cheat when it comes to "baking" potatoes. I microwave them. That's just how I was raised. One medium baking potato takes about 7 minutes. I scooped out the innards and added about 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 of sour cream and filled the skins back up. In the meantime..my tuna salad is super simple too-(this makes way more than you need for just ONE potato...I'll be eating it all week) 3 cans of light tuna (in water) Eh...4-5 tablespoons of mayo (sorry..I've never really measured) 2 tablespoons pickle relish-this is where it COULD get interesting. Marcy uses DILL pickle relish in her melts and they are heaven. But when it comes to just eating tuna salad (which I admit sometimes I just do out of the bowl) I kinda like sweet. Today for my salad I ran some of my Dad's lime pickles through the mini chopper and it made for a wonderful sweet tangy addition that normal "sweet" pickle relish lacks. Put about 1/4 cup of tuna salad on top of your re-stuffed potato skins, and top with more shredded cheddar cheese-pop under the broiler until cheese is to your liking...I like it bubbly and barely brown. In my humble (and again pregnant) opinion. It was a perfect marriage. If you try it..let me know what you think!