Eat Something

{October 17, 2008}   Garlicy-er Limey-er Pasta
My wacky BeeGee helping me in the kitchen...

My wacky BeeGee helping me in the kitchen...

So I made Amber’s pasta a while back but knew I wanted some changes so I finally got to it and it was a hit!!! The BeeGee helped me in the kitchen and sang his own disturbing version of “It’s getting hot in here” to the broccoli as we prepped it… meanwhile, he somehow manages to stand on a chair shaking his shoulders and booty while rinsing and plucking leaves from the 4 broccoli stalks and passing them to me as he’s singing without missing a beat…¬†“It’s getting hot in there *points into pot of not yet boiling water for the pasta and broc* so let’s take off your leaves… I am getting hungry (uh uh), so help me take your leaves off.” At which point he falls in to giggles and flashes an ornery grin and I groan to myself at the fact that hubby clearly exercises little caution with his selection of school driving tunes, but am at the same moment mildly amused at my silly boy… (Don’t get me wrong I like Nelly and all I just didn’t think it wore well on my 4 yo…)

while boiling the sauce, I was serenaded with Lets get it saucy, saucy

while boiling the sauce, I was serenaded with Lets get it saucy, saucy

Garlicy-er Limey-er Pasta
8 oz box spelt rotini
1 head broccoli florets (about 4 c)
1 lb chicken breasts, cut in strips
1/2 head of garlic, minced
olive oil

quick taste for the cooks...

quick taste for the cooks...

1.5 T ea: butter and flour
1.5 c chicken stock
1/4 c lime juice
(and zest of one lime, optional)
1 tsp ea: blk pep, garlic pwd, onion pwd
1/2 tsp ea: salt, smoked paprika, cayenne, thyme
parm to garnish

Boil the pasta in salt water for about 5 mins, stir in the broccoli cover and cut off the heat. After starting the pasta (but before adding the broccoli), soften the garlic and start browning the chicken in a little olive oil… push the chicken off to one side, make a quick roux melting the butter and flour together and whisk in the liquids and seasonings… mix the chicken back thru anad bring to a boil… drain pasta and broccoli and toss with the chicken sauce… top with the cheese and serve…


{October 11, 2008}   Tuna and White Bean Pasta Fagiole


we really liked the mini bowties... so cute... ūüôā

Tuna and White Bean Pasta Fagiole
7 carrots, 7 stalks celery
1 lg onion
1/2 head garlic
13 oz can mushrooms, drained (drained weight)
2 cans tuna
3 c white beans
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1.5-2 c small pasta (we had no elbows)
1 qt water or broth
lemon juice, s/p, oregano, thyme, red pep flakes

Saute the diced/minced raw veg, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until pasta is cooked (under 10 mins).

NB: I’d like to add more lemon, some blk olives, and fresh parsley for starters… but this will be made again, and I will tinker…

{October 6, 2008}   Ravioli Soup

So Sunday after church, the Hubs hurt himself… he managed not to break his foot, but has a deep muscle sprain and is in a boot and a fair amt of pain… thereby making my restful weekend not so restful… so another slap-bash meal as I didn’t want to cook and the kids were upset about how daddy’s foot put a cramp in their plans and cried and carried on about every piddling thing imaginable… so I needed it to be simple but happily eaten, since at the time I had high hopes of getting them to bed early… HA!

a yummy soup when you are the only physically capable of fetching more for the entire family, not the best laid plan... plus your soup goes cold as you do so...

a yummy soup when you are the only physically capable of fetching more for the entire family, not the best laid plan... plus your soup goes cold as you do so...

Ravioli Soup
1 lb ground meat (again, I used veal because it was on sale cheaper than beef)
seasonings (salt/pepper, dried herbs–rosemary and other italian type seasonings, garlic pwd)
1 lb frozen green beans
1 lb can campbell’s tomato soup (slightly bigger than usual size)
2 (15 oz) cans diced italian style tomatoes
2-2.5 c frozen cheese ravioli
grated parm (opt)

Brown the meat with the seasonings and stir in the frozen beans… Add the tomato soup and 2 canfuls of water, and the tomatoes… bring up to a boil and taste for seasoning, and adjust… reduce the heat to med-med low, add the ravioli and simmer until they float… top with parm to serve…

[Quick Reminder: Make sure to scoop low to get meat as well as it sinks while the pasta and veg float…]

brown the meat and stir in the frozen beans...

brown the meat and add the frozen beans...

step two add everything and bring to a boil...

step two add everything and bring to a boil...

when the raviolis float to top it is done...

when the raviolis float to top it is done...

See making soup can be almost as easy as 1, 2, 3… and the slight guilt I felt making another slap dash so soon after the last, passed quickly as everyone started needing this and that and I realized I couldn’t sit down long enough to think let alone eat… and in the midst of all this flurry, I also forgot to start the washer so I had to stay up another hour after getting everyone to bed… : (

[Disclaimer: still catching up on September’s meals… this one is from the middle of the month…]

This was just a rounding up of odd and ends that needed using… Tomatoes threatening to go soft, cabbage shamefully buried in the back of the produce drawer (discovered only when we couldn’t fit all the new produce in the bins), ground bison sadly still buried in the deep freeze from January and leftover bits from the weekend’s lasagna, plus a small amt of of corn that is too little for our big family and I had previously figured I’d throw in a soup or something (which I of course didn’t)… Oh and please forgive me on the name, I’m truly useless at these sorts of things… and I really was at a loss for a name, as I’m not used to naming my dishes (probably the second most cumbersome part of taking this blog on) and usually just take a name from whatever inspired it… Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option here… just slapped leftovers together and seasoned it to taste pleasant (though this got raves, even the girlie ate all of hers and bluejay asked for seconds–and my kids tend to give the evil eye to casseroles, so this is big deal–it really was tasty and very comfort food-ish)… I almost just called it Lasagna Roll-ups but figured it wasn’t just plain lasagna so that might be misleading…

Southwestern-ish Lasagna Roll-ups
1-1.25 lb ground bison
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded (leftover from the Mandarin Chicken)
3 romas, diced (I obsessively cut each one into 32 pieces, but do however you see fit)
1 c mexican stewed tomatoes (squeezed the tomatoes to break them up)
frozen corn (not sure how much as it was the end of the bag, at least a cup maybe 1.5)
1/2 c leftover salsa sauce (from the BB Lasagna)
8 2/3 softened lasagna noodles (soaked the BB Lasagna night)
1.5 tsp Southwestern Chipotle Mrs Dash
1/2 tsp ea: s/p, g/o pwd
1/4 tsp ea: celery seed, nutmeg

Brown the meat, stir in remaining and 1/4 c water and simmer 20 min or until most of the liquid is absorbed or mostly so… Use a slotted spoon to fill the noodles with drained filling…and roll them up lengthwise jellyroll-style and transfer to a baking dish (I placed them seam side down)…

2 T ea: flour, oil
1.5 c milk
1/2 c ea: leftover filling from above and cottage cheese
1 c grated colby jack

Cook flour and oil together until well incorporated but still pale, whisk in milk slowly to avoid lumps. As it approaches a steady simmer add remaining and bring to a boil to thicken. Pour over the rolls (can line the base of the pan, under the rolls, with it too if you wish… and you don’t have to use all of it I suppose if you don’t want it so saucy, but creamy sauce equals comfort so I lay on…) and bake at 350 until warmed through or noodles are cooked if that is necessary…

[Note to self/spouse: Make this again! On purpose!]

{October 1, 2008}   Spicy Chicken Tortelini Soup
This is super easy, and we have a few versions... you can make it in the crock instead of roasting veggies and just add the tortelini last minute as you prep for serving or whatever...

This is super easy, and we have a few versions... you can make it in the crock instead of roasting veggies and just add the tortellini last minute as you prep for serving or whatever...

always, with the how much seasonings... about this much...

always, with the how much seasonings... about this much...

Spicy Chicken Tortellini Soup
1 lb chicken tenders
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c salsa (hot)
2-3 tsp ea: kosher salt and Mrs Dash Southwestern Chipotle
1-1.5 tsp dried cilantro
2 c water
3 diced red potatoes (1 c-ish)
pinch of sea salt
1 c frozen corn
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 c water (milk or cream would turn this to a chowder which I was going to do but decided against last second)
2 c cheese tortellini (1/2 lb-ish)

Poach chicken in liquid drained from canned tomatoes, salsa, seasonings and water… Meanwhile, roast @ 500: the potatoes toss with oil and pinch of salt and on a separate tray, the tomatoes, corn, peppers tossed with a bit of oil…

Pull out chicken and let cool enough to handle… Meanwhile, add the roasted veg to the pot and simmer… while simmering, separate the chicken into chunks and add back to the pot with the additional liquid and tort… simmer until tort float, about 5 more min-ish…

{September 29, 2008}   Sausage and Pasta

Hubster again. Making another quick dinner.

1 lb of favorite pasta
1 lb smoked sausage – sliced
1 med onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 16 oz jar of favorite pasta sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion, pepper and garlic on medium heat until tender. Add sliced smoked sausage and saute until brown heated thru. In a seperate pot cook pasta until tender. Add jar of sauce to sausage mixture and simmer until hot. Add pasta to sauce mixture once cooked stir together and serve.

{September 29, 2008}   Grandma’s Chili – Comfort Food
apparently, this is chili mac (despite being chili free)...

apparently, this is chili mac (despite being chili free)...

according to the Hubs, it is important this be INSTANT potatoes not just regular old mashed potatoes...

according to the Hubs, it is important this be INSTANT potatoes not just regular old mashed potatoes...

This is the hubster posting some comfort food from my childhood. My mom called this grandma’s chili. Not really chile so to speak, more like chili-mac. I loved having this on cold winter’s nights, it always warmed me up and after everyone had their first bowl it was always a rush to get seconds. I would always put a pat of butter in the center of the mashed potatoes and I would eat around the mashed potatoes seeing how much I could eat, while still getting everything in a spoonful, without breaking into the center “filling” of melted butter. When I did, it was so much fun watching the butter ooze out of the mashed potatoes and adding more flavor to the dish. This dish just brings up warm memories for me and dinners with my family while growing up.

Grandma’s Chili – Comfort Food
8 oz elbow macaroni uncooked
1 lb ground beef (73/27)
2 cans of dark red kidney beans undrained
1 med onion chopped
2 tsp garlic powder.
8 oz kethchup
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
instant mashed potatoes (Make for six servings)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook ground beef and onions with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano. In another pot cook macaroni until tender. Once beef mixture is cooked add kidney beans and kethcup with 1/2 to 1 cup of water mix together and simmer 5 minutes. Add macaroni to mixture and simmer 5 minutes more. While simmering make the mashed potatoes and spoon into a bowl, (add butter and salt to taste), then spoon chili over mashed potatoes. Leave as is or do as my sisters would do, (my 6 year old prefered it this way too), and mix it all together.

how it really looked when served (copius amts of pasta hide the mashed potatoes)...

how it really looked when served (copius amts of pasta hide the mashed potatoes)...

while you can still see the potatoes underneath... (this mind you will not last)

while you can still see the potatoes underneath... (this mind you will not last)

Belatedly submitted to Joelen for the Family Favorites Read, Watch, and Eat (I was a bad wife and went to bed without doing it inspite of all the hubby’s efforts in making it and typing up the post, but that’s no shocker these days unfortunately) and don’t forget to check out the wrap up… And when I finish posting them, you can check out my dad’s red beans rice, or my g-ma’s rolls–hands down a most requested recipe ever, that I frankly tend to delegate because I’m so lazy–which we had with this chili dinner (major carb offense, I know) or Buttermilk Pie from my other grandmother for more of the weekend’s family classics…

{September 3, 2008}   Lazy Lady Beef Stroganoff

Well, there’s been a ruckus about the Lazy Lady recipes (only one other is actually up here and it and the boxed mac get oodles of hits and searches) so I’m working on some more and we’ll see how that goes as the time passes but for know I decided to make a lazy lady version of stroganoff (there’s a skillet stroganoff that ATK made a little while back that got me to thinking about one, as I loved the one-pot-ness of it but wanted something even simpler but still tasty so tonight I tinkered… as it was nice not to be guesting in someone else’s kitchen…) Tonight’s version was made with ground meat as it was present and accounted for (but pre-cut tips could definitely be in a future revision…) so I guess this is sort of Hamburger Helper reminiscent… but another real meat version is coming at some point in the future…

mostly absorbed, aka. if you push it aside you can see the pan without liquid rushing to cover it...

mostly absorbed, aka. if you push it aside you can see the pan without liquid rushing to cover it...

Lazy Lady Beef Stroganoff (part 1-ground)
1 lb ground beef (I technically used the v word, since it was on sale cheaper than round)
s/p, garlic pwd, onion pwd
1.5 c sliced mushrooms
2 T powdered milk (could be skipped, could lose some broth in place of a bit of milk–whatever)
1/2 c hard cider (I guess sherry would have been better but again, I’m deeply motivated by the on hand)
1/4 yellow onion
3 c beef broth
3 c egg noodles
1/4 c snipped chives (again, what was here)
1/2-3/4 c sour cream

Season the ground meat and brown it. Using the rendered fat and more as and if needed (I needed and used olive oil) saute the mushrooms. Add the powdered milk and stir to coat the beef and mush, use the cider/sherry to deglaze the pan and reduce the heat. Put onion and broth in the blender and puree smooth, add to the pan along with noodles and herbs and cover with lid and let simmer until noodles are cooked (not sure how long but it was less than 10). Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

The sauce not absorbed by the pasta is thickened by the pasta starches, thus no fussing with making roux or flouring the meat (which wouldn’t have worked out so hot with the ground meat, LOL) or anything either… Super easy, in hindsight I’d wished I’d popped a couple of cloves of garlic in the blender too… but all in all was mostly satisfied. Little Hawk: One could also use some of those dried miced onions and powdered beef boullion, and probably even some dried mushrooms if found on the cheap,¬†to make your own HH-ish kit of the dried items and then just add the meat (which could be preseasoned and precooked, and popped in the freezer), some water (hot tap will thaw the precooked frozen crumbles),¬†and the sour cream later when making… still just as easy but you’d have more control over the salt and other suchness…

{September 3, 2008}   Grandma’s Chicken Tetrazzini

Ok so I make tetrazzini plenty and while I know how to cook plenty well I’ve always favored a little something about g-ma’s sauce to any I’ve found or come up with (technically, I liked the Millsaps sauce a littlebetter but have long since forgotten what the staff told me about it as I never¬†I cooked back then so never cemented a connection to that info capable of surviving the reboot so I dunno maybe I should look up Chef David again and re-ask…) and I’m now the proud bearer of the not-so-secret secret to her success so in homage here is her entire recipe and it was previously published in one of the T-town cookbooks, but I didn’t take note of the page…

Grandma’s Chicken Tetrazzini (my g-ma, Tylertown UMW’s “A Book of Favorite Recipes” 1986)
7 oz-box thin spaghetti
8 oz canned mushrooms, drained
1/2 c margarine
4-6 chicken breasts (cooked, skinned, boned and cut up)
sm jar chopped pimentos
2 cans cream of chicken
2 c sour cream
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
top w/grated parm

Cook spaghetti in chicken broth. Saute mushrooms in margarine. Mix soup, sour cream, s/p and add chicken and spaghetti. Turn into a buttered casserole and sprinkle with cheese, bake 40 min at 350. (Can be prepared ahead)

{August 23, 2008}   Blender Puffy Mac and Cheese

So confession time, this was meant to intro my cooking phobic friend into the world of easy but impressive dishes but it was a big time flop. (Note to self: Do NOT try to beat egg whites in the blender–even if you think that’s what a recipe is suggesting–it is painfully frustrating… I say “think” because upon closer more careful examination I realized blenderness aside they were saying blend, blend, blend, beat and thus with more attentiveness it is clear that they are not suggesting you attempt to whip these whites into shape via blender blade and it was some what a**inine of me to assume so as logic would alert you to the lack of air potential but alas no I was have a completely blonde night–as despite physically outgrowing the more evident symptoms I am still very much afflicted.) And while I got it from the cookbook in theory, I cut out the veg because of the kids and the onion for my friend, changed amts on things to fit with my supplies and taste preferences and threw up a little in the back of my throat at the idea of pureeing the pasta (as they so wonderfully suggested) so umm, yeah I didn’t dare do that… and when as was said and done this not really the recipe any more either. But as you know that’s in keeping with how I operate… and I won’t take it personally if you make it faithfully to the original (I mean I might have blended the pasta to if I was making it for the pitty pat, but as is I was cooking the pasta past my desired for the goonies anyway so that was a concession I didn’t have in me)

Blender Puffy Mac and Cheese (inspired from “Macaroni Puff Souffl√©” p 39 of Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cook Book 1971)
12 oz elbows
2.5 c milk
5 eggs, seperated
2.5 c shredded cheddar
2 wedges laughing cow spreadable swiss (you can sub butter, that’s what a normal person would use)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

So I boiled the pasta in very salty water. Threw the whites in the blender with the cream of tartar (but will just use the electric beater next time) poured out in a bowl and nearly cried, and began feebly trying to save them and never got them where they needed to be (hence the non puffiness, but this is still a salvagable recipe and I’ll come make it with you the proper way if you’d like). Added the milk, yolks and cheeses to the blender and blitzed smooth. Fold everything together and put in dish to bake in and ungreased dish preheated 350 oven until set, I think it was around 45 min.

As a special note, you’d actually want to put this in an dish with tall sides but as I was planning to use that dish in chicago and didn’t have any faith this would rise much I went with the big glass casserole, aka my brownie pan (did you catch that diane? but I swear there was no such reason why he liked the mac… I’m a good girl unlike the other three adults at the table *smirks* at least in that respect), instead so I wouldn’t need to hand wash it before we left town (but of course a certain sweet fairy cleaned all the dinner dishes before my sojourn home)…

[NB. It needed a little something IMO, so I think I’d add some roasted yellow or orange bell pepper next time to discreetly replace the pimentos as that’d puree into something that could easily hide under the guise of the cheese and would lend a little more roundness I think.]

{August 16, 2008}   Chicken Fra Diavolo
In the pot, sans the fresh basil (because a girl has to blog it already)

In the pot, sans the fresh basil (because a girl has to blog it already)

So the Hubs of course bemoaned the fact that I wouldn’t eat shellfish a bit (ok, more than a bit… enough that I actually said if he really felt he just had to use shellfish I could live with scallops), trying to explain to me about how the sweetness of the meat in shrimp, lobster, etc complimented the sauce so well…balancing the heat, etc. And I didn’t really care as I won’t eat shrimp (I could be staving next to a mountain of shrimp that overfloweth from the water and I would still die of hunger, unless the good Lord freed me of my tastebuds first) and I really wasn’t interested in going to shop for¬†any other shellfish… So in some fabulous swoop of fate, we ended up getting a killer deal on¬†some Mahi-Mahi (guess what I’m having tomorrow) and swinging by to pick up chicken instead after all. *gloat, gloat, gloat…beam, beam, beam*¬†So on with the recipe (one of the handful of joys to fall out of marrying an italian)…

Pureeing the sauce some... (done prior to cooking down)

Pureeing the sauce some... (done prior to cooking down)

Chicken Fra Diavolo
6 tomatoes, chopped (or about 3 c drained canned ones)
1/2 can tomato paste
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
seeds from one bell pepper
1 T red pepper flakes
salt to taste
1 c white wine
2 chicken breasts, cut in pieces
1 lb fettuccine
1/4-1/3 c chopped fresh basil

Hubby did stuff…it tasted yummy. I’ll have him add the what and when of it all here real soon. Plus any extra ingredients if I missed ’em, but I think I was pretty good at note taking…From Hubby: Chop the garlic and saute in the olive oil over medium heat. Chop onions and add to garlic and saute until translucent approximately 5 minutes stirring often, (don’t want to burn the garlic). Chop the the tomatos into cubes and add to garlic and onions. (if you have time, you can boil and peel the skins off of the tomatoes.) Add the salt, tomato paste and white wine, bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes. Blend together until smooth, (I used a hand blender). Add Red pepper flakes and bell pepper seeds. In another pan, cook the chicken (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder), until done. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer about 10 more minutes. While the sauce and chicken is simmering make the fettuccine, (This also work well with other pasta’s especially linguini and farfalle). When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. mix together until the sauce coats the pasta and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

PS. Oh and I’m rushing to pop it up for Joelen and the Tomato Spotlight so check out the Round up for more yummies.

{August 15, 2008}   Finagled Box Mac and Cheese

For some reason the hubs has an affection for buting boxed mac and cheeses… all sorts of varieties. Most recently he chose to buy target’s brand. So I used it to make life easier and changed it to make it umm dinner. And sure it’s not glamourous but neither was the rest of dinner tonight… but scouts night is about kid friendly so everyone is done eating when it’s time to go so it works out.

Finagled Box Mac and Cheese
2 boxes of target mac
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c butter
1 c shredded sharp cheddar
s/p, onion pwd

Cover the pasta with about 1 qt of water and 1 tsp salt and simmer. Microwave sour cream and butter at 1/2 power until butter is melted and stir together add powdered cheese packets and shedded cheese and season to taste. Blend cheese mixture into cooked pasta until well blended.

I guess this is really an adaptation to the lazy lady mac (I don’t usually make it with boxed though, I threw that in to be helpful for the girls, but this tasted a little better so this will probably be my boxed version of Lady Lady if I need it again–but I’ll probably tweak the seasonings some more, and not by target’s again) because it’s another no drain. But I didn’t put it all in the pot at once so it is still a bit different…

Shrek Ogre Mac and Cheese
florets from 2 crowns broccoli
2 c milk
1/2 tsp s/p, garlic pwd
1 c hot tap water
2 c ea: elbows and sharp cheddar
1 c sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 c parm, romano, or asiago
additional seasonings to taste (like powdered mustard)

Cook broccoli, milk and seasonings slowly, at MED or lower, until well softened (this may seem a little gross and counter to your cooking instincts but if you don’t overcook it a bit past fork tender, it will retain too much texture and not have as pleasant a mouth feel once pureed I’ve done this a time or two so you can trust me or you can dig your heels in and see for yourself if you like–just be aware that the odd gritty-ish bits were your own doing not my recipe–but either way you’ve been forewarned, LOL) and puree in blender. Pour back in pot and put water in blender, blitz and swish to get all broccoli flower buds out and add to pot with pasta and cheddar, simmer to cook the pasta. Take out sour cream and mix with cheese and let stand at room temp while pasta cooks. When all or most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in sour cream mixture.

***Part of the key to this being ‘incognito’ is the use of the stonger cheeses, you are welcome to use milder cheeses if you wish but the broccoli will be more prevalent (still good if you like broccoli though especially with swiss). But the important truth is that even in the more incognito version the broccoli will be still present in the background. That said it has, however, been happily consumed by avowed broccoli haters even after being armed with the knowledge that it is in there…you see for me it is more about getting them to take the first bite that lead to the somewhat misleading name (because even adults will think they won’t want to eat pureed broccoli before they’ve had it, LOL). This is more about helping people to appreciate broccoli (while listening to and trying to overcome what they said they don’t like about the taste of it) than it is about completely hiding it. If you are trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes, then look elsewhere as this won’t cut it…but if you are trying to introduce new flavors in a palatable way then you should be fine. I mean, the food is green and the broccoli can be tasted–this is not incogonito in the newfangled sense of hiding 2T of brussel sprouts in a batch of brownies… So just be aware of that. Otherwise, enjoy as it is a yummy side dish that offers some variety from the same ol’ mac and cheese! (We make tons of different versions of mac and cheese since we eat it all the time..and while I can’t say this is my favorite, it is good and we do crave it from time to time and I do get quite a few requests for it–not to mention the recipe–sometimes more often than I am willing to make it, LOL)

The kids thought these looked like cookie dough, and once they said it I did too.

The kids thought these looked like cookie dough, and once they said it I did too.

This was my first ever Deb Mele flop, normally she rockas my socks, I so wanted to cry over the meatballs. They were a bit of extra work and ingredients and yet I found them a bit bland and dissappointing, turns out I should have just used hubby standard meatball recipe but I will toy with this (Had I not been baking them I would have made one and tasted it and known to adjust the seasoning and not had such a huge problem so I fell down on the job too) as the kids were very excited to see them looking like cookie dough before I cooked them, see pic.

Futhermore, they were way too soft for this application–even with the extra egg white–and some fell apart as I was stirring in the cheese…but that’s kinda what I was expecting anyway. So next time I make these, hopefully modified into deliciousness worthy of the¬†labor,¬†they will be appearing as Spaghetti and Meatballs or Meatball Sandwiches. But on to the recipe:

Meatball and Marscapone Baked Ziti
Deb Mele’s meatballs (I added the extra egg white from the prev alfredo, since I thought this sounded like it might be too soft)
1.5 qts red sauce (I used 2 jars of Classico Spicy Tomato Basil instead)
1 lb ziti
1 tub marscapone, seasoned generously but to taste with s/p, garlic, parm
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Shape into meatballs and brown on all sides (I shaped into 62 meatballs about 1T size and I actually baked mine, flipping part way, but I couldn’t tell you how long as I didn’t pay attention). Simmer meatballs in sauce. Simmer pasta in salted water, but pull a bit before it’s al dente while still a little chewy and add to meatballs with marscapone. Put in baking dishes (I made an 8×8 and two loaf pans) and top with mozz, bake until cheese is melty and a little golden.

Oh and for the record this wasn’t considered a flop by everyone else, as Bill and the kids just love having baked ziti…so they probably wouldn’t have complained if the whole thing had been bad since it’s one of their favorite meals. But I felt it was a lot of extra work for not much pay off, sometimes simple really is best.

Lazy Lady Mac and Cheese 
Ok, well this should probably be teen friendly and I’m even throwing in a from the box version for a real bare minimum effort.

From the box
1 7-8 oz box
1/2 stick of butter (or marg, I guess)
1.5-2 c hot tap water
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
any other desired seasonings to taste

From scratch
2 c elbows
2 T butter (or marg, I guess)
2 c hot tap water
2/3 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
any other desired seasonings to taste (I usually used pepper and dry mustard)
1/2 c grated parm (or romano, or blend of the like)
1-1.5 c shredded cheddar (the sharper the better, but use what you like)

From the box
Put the butter in the pan and melt it (melts quicker if you cut it up), add the dry cheese pouch and stir to coat all the powder with butter. Add the hot water slowly and whisk out any cheese clumps. Add pasta, milk, salt and any other seasonings and bring to a boil (boils faster covered) on HIGH. Once boiling, stir to make sure pasta is distributed well cover (or recover)¬†and turn off the heat but leave on the hot burner. That’s it just leave it alone while you make the rest or dinner and it will absorb the liquid (if you leave it too long it will absorb the milk too and not be creamy nd the pasta might be oversoft¬†but otherwise it can’t burn or anything if you get sidetracked and forget it…hence, it is¬†perfect for this lazy lady.

From scratch
Add pasta, water, butter, milk, salt and seasonings, and parm and bring to a boil on HIGH. Then stir in the cheddar until well scattered (it will finish melting later), cover and cut off the heat but leave on the hot eye. Leave it to absorb most of the liquid usually 30 or less.

et cetera