Monday, April 28, 2008

Pre race Fuel: No Boil Baked Ziti

The night before the marathon I wanted a good, homecooked meal. And by homecooked I mean one I didn't have to make.

My mom and Mr. Snowgoose were in town for the big race, so my mom made dinner. While Mr. Snowgoose and I saw a movie, my mom made baked ziti.

I borrowed this recipe from the internet. I think it's a Ragu recipe.

Ingridients:
1 (26 oz.) jar Ragu Pasta Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15 oz container ricotta cheese (we used whipped cottage cheese)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces uncooked ziti pasta

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Combine sauce and water. Stir in cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan, then uncooked ziti. Spoon ziti mixture into a 13 x9 baking dish. Cover with foil.

3. Bake 55 minutes

4. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.

Serves 8.

I know what you're thinking- only 8 ounces of pasta? Seriously?! But it was enough. We used whole wheat pasta and I don't think my guests noticed the differance.

Serve with a salad and french bread.

Sorry no photos! Next time I make it I'll take some.

This is by far one of the easiest recipes to make. And it's super yummy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

From the Freezer: Quick Scallops and Asparagus Risotto

This is another from the freezer meals. I found the recipe at Whole Foods in their Meals for 4 under $20 pamphlet.

I had been wanting to make risotto (from scratch) for ages. I invited my friend Steve over for dinner promising scallops and risotto (two of my favorite foods to eat out). The day he was supposed to come over for dinner and a scrabble rematch, I went for an epic training run. I came home tired and sore and I had no desire to slave in the kitchen, but I didn't want to cop out and order a pizza.

This recipe was really simple yet tasted like a million bucks. I was tempted to lie and say the risotto was from scratch, but instead I told the truth.

Ingridients:
1 6 oz box Tomato and Basil Risotto
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 10.6 oz package of scallops
1 small bunch of fresh asparagus cut into 1" pieces (note: I cheated and bought frozen aspagus which was already pre cut into 1" pieces)

Directions:
1. Prepare risotto using olive oil according to the package, adding asparagus and all but 12-16 of the scallops to the simmering rice after 5 minutes.

2. Continue cooking, stirring a few times while simmering.

3. When the risotto is almost finished, saute the reserved scallops according to package directions.

4. Top each serving of risotto with a few sauted scallops.

Cook's notes:
1. I sauted all of the scallops in olive oil and garlic before adding to the risotto.
2. I also sauted spinach in olive oil and garlic and served it alongside the risotto (in addition to frozen french rolls which I heated up).
3. From start to finish the meal took less than 30 minutes.

It was super good and the perfect recovery meal post run (lots of protien and carbs). I will definately make it again since it was so easy and fairly cheap. And Steve loved it.

Sorry no photos. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ricotta Pancakes

A short story about ricotta pancakes.

When Mr. Snowgoose and I began our courtship in 2004 he wooed me with ricotta pancakes. I wasn't the biggest breakfast fan then (and living in a dorm) but often on weekends when I would be hanging out at Mr. Snowgoose's apartment (with a big kitchen!) having epic Scrabble tournaments, he'd make me ricotta pancakes. I'll tell you a secret: there's nothing I love more than a man in the kitchen. The way to my heart is seriously through my stomach.

So it's appropriate that the morning after Mr. Snowgoose and I got engaged in Seattle, we walked to the market and bought supplies to make celebratory ricotta pancakes.

The recipe comes from the Food Network website and actually calls for homemade Banana-Pecan Syrup, but Mr. Snowgoose and I opted to just use regular sugar free syrup and instead we added frozen blueberries to the batter just for kicks.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 ounces ricotta, well drained (1/2 cup)
Butter or vegetable oil

For the Ricotta Pancakes:

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together onto waxed paper or a plate.

Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or whisk until stiff but not dry.



Beat the egg yolks, milk, and ricotta together in a large bowl until well blended and smooth.

Add the dry ingredients and mix gently with a large spoon. Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula.

Warm a serving platter in a 200 degree F oven.

Heat a nonstick flat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot.

Grease with butter or vegetable oil.

Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles form on the surface, then flip the pancakes over using a large wide spatula. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.


Transfer the pancakes to the warm platter.

Serve immediately or hold in the oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Serve the pancakes on heated plates topped with the syrup.



They turned out pretty good. I won't lie, they do take some time to make (a bit longer than regular pancakes, but they're worth it because they are so light and fluffy they practically melt in your mouth. It's a perfect addition to Sunday brunch (along with the NYT!)

We did have some help in the kitchen: Elsa the kitten.