Sunday, June 28, 2009

My blog is...

getting a facelift. I'm playing around with it, as you may have noticed, depending on when you've clicked on it!! :)

I'm trying to create my own background, which is fun and frustrating at the same time!! To give credit where it's due, and just in case you're wondering, I've been using the instructions here, page elements from here, and this scrapbooking software.

However...it's getting late, and I should really be asleep! So, while I know it still needs some work, I'm going to bed now!! But yes, I'm aware that it's not quite right... ;)

Later!!

Update: Ha! Harder than I thought. I've had to revert to one of the templates...for now! ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spasagna

So, I realize that there is a certain restaurant that serves a menu item called "Spasagna" - a cross between spaghetti and lasagna. However, I have never tried it. None of my family has. I'm just throwing that out there...remember it later. :)

I was watching a show on television last week and it featured an Italian restaurant owner that was making a dish that was a spaghetti-lasagna hybrid. I'm not even sure what he called it. But it looked and sounded really good. I went online to search for a recipe, but didn't find one that called to me. Many of them included spinach, and while I would like it and I'm sure Kade would, I know that the others in my household would not. So, I decided to wing it and come up with something on my own.

As I was working on it tonight, Sean kept coming in and asking if supper was ready. Then he asked what we were having. I explained to him that it had all the ingredients of lasagna, but I used spaghetti noodles and mixed it all up. Then I asked him what we should call it. He thought about it for about 5 seconds, and came up with "spasagna". So there you have it. He's never even heard of the dish at the restaurant and he came up with the same name. Of course, it's really not all that hard to put the two words together and come up with spasagna, lol. I just wanted to say that I'm not trying to steal the name, or act like I came up with it all on my own. ;)

Sean's reaction to trying it: "This is good!" and later "I have nothing to say. It's so good, I can't say anything!" and then a thumbs up. I think that means it's a keeper, don't you?

D and I liked it as well. I personally would like to tweak it, because I thought the sauce could actually use a bit more flavor. But overall it was good.

So now, on to the recipe. I regret to say that I failed to take pictures during the process. Can you believe that? I know, I know. Oh well!


Spasagna


1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed (or more to taste)
1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Italian herb blend
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (1 lb) package spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (15 oz) carton ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided

Heat oven to 350'F. Using nonstick cooking spray or butter, prepare a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat. Drain if necessary, then add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes (do not overcook the garlic - it can burn easily). Add the tomato puree, water, Italian herbs, minced onion, garlic powder, salt, sugar and black pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions and drain. Return to cooking pot. Add parsley, Ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well. Add meat mixture, stirring well. (I had to use a giant wooden spoon to get everything mixed together...you really have to stir, stir, stir!) Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an addition 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. (I cut it into 15 squares, but we each had 2 squares, lol).


Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie - Parisian Apple Tartlet

What a perfect week to get back to baking! This week, Jessica of My Baking Heart chose Parisian Apple Tartlets. At first, I thought "oh no, how complicated is this going to be?" especially since I was coming off a week with sick kids. But after reading the recipe, I thought "is that all? I can definitely do that!!" It is a super simple, yet super delicious recipe!




Sheets of frozen puff pastry are cut into circles, chunks of peeled and cored apples are placed on top, sprinkled with brown sugar and dotted with butter, then baked. And then enjoyed!! I will admit that I added cinnamon to the apples, but then again I love to add cinnamon to lots of things. :)
I even baked ahead, making these for dessert on Sunday night. They were enjoyed by most. Sean being the exception, but take his reviews with a grain (no, a whole shaker!) of salt...he doesn't like much.

I highly recommend trying these. In fact, I'll be making them again for dessert tonight. And be sure to check out what the other TWD Bakers did with this recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The no-eating-out challenge

Hi all! Well, yes I know. It's been a long time. I'm not even going to try to make excuses. I just haven't been able to blog like I wanted to. But I'm back. Hopefully. LOL

Anyway, the last few weeks we've been eating out too much. It's just habit. A bad habit most of the time! And too convenient. Stop and get pizza on the way home from Tae Kwon Do. Stop and pick up burgers on the way home from piano. Have D stop and get burritos on his way home from work. The thing is, we're all kind of burned out on eating out. Even Sean has said he'd rather just go home and have ramen noodles. One of his favorite things, lmao. But Saturday was when it really hit us. Both boys have been sick over the past week. D and I were both exhausted. We were all hungry. And the food network had been running BBQ episodes all day. BBQ! That sounds good! Let's go pick up some! So, I went to a place we hadn't tried before...had to drive across town to get there (on the upside, Kade did get a nap on the way, lol) and then spent way more than I had expected. Got home, ate, and it was just okay. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what we were hoping for. Plus, a lot of it went to waste, to be honest. We were full, but left unsatisfied.

So Sunday I went to the grocery store. Bought steaks for supper, and other stuff as well. Our (home cooked) steak dinner was much, much better than the takeout we'd had the day before, and much cheaper to boot! Now, I realize this is not a new concept, and not new to me either. But sometimes we just get in the habit of eating out, and forget how good and economical home cooked meals really are! So, D and I basically challenged each other to see if we could keep from eating out all week. That goes for him too, not just me! I made sure that was part of the deal...because he eats out almost every day for lunch! He diligently packed his lunch this morning. I'm so proud. Sean takes his lunch every day anyway, so that's nothing new for him (he's at camp this week). The hard part for me is not stopping for tea or coffee. If you add it up, I actually do that a little too often, lol. So, I pulled my iced tea maker out yesterday and made a whole pitcher of sweet tea (one of my addictions) and it was actually some of the best tea I'd had lately, lol. And I didn't stop at Starbucks after dropping Sean off this morning.

I'm just rambling now...sorry. :) I do that, didn't you know? Anyway, it will be interesting to see how we do this week. Now...off to figure out the meals for the rest of the week!!

Oh, and don't worry Christi -- this doesn't mean we can't do our lunches when you're up for it! We just said no eating out this week...after that we're just cutting back, lol.