Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday: Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells (recipe makes 6 servings)
1 egg
12 oz Ricotta Cheese or 2 C cottage cheese (I use a 20 oz? cottage cheese)
16 oz Ziti Pasta, slightly undercooked (I use a box of Large Shells)
1 1/2 C Spaghetti sauce
10 oz spinach (optional but delicious)
 Combine egg, cottage/ricotta cheese and spinach. Recipe calls to food process but I simply mashed it all together with a whisk. Boil your Ziti or Shells until they are a few minutes undercooked. Drain and cool to handle. Fill shell or ziti with the cheese mixture. Place in containers for freezing or into a casserole pan for cooking (or split it up for both). Some recipes call to freeze just the mixture but I like to freeze with it in the shell for even easier meals. Cover with spaghetti sauce (I add a little to the bottom of the pan as well) and cook at 350* for 30 minutes. Additional cheese mixture or mozzarella cheese can be used to top the dish.
 forgive my poor pictures...
...and plate presentation

Rating:  5 stars
-super easy to prepare (and freeze).  Tastes delicious (my father-in-law had three servings and I consider him a little hard to please).  

-this recipe comes from the 30 Gourmet's Big Book of Freezer Cooking book.  It is one we've made before and love. It freezes well and tastes great either fresh or post-frozen.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday: Minestrone Fix-Up

I am being lazy.  I even made something new for my Whip It Up Wednesday.  It was even a hit with everyone (my father-in-law had three servings!).  But it can wait.  Today was rainy and cool.  What a relief after all the heat.  So I made minestrone soup.  The lazy way too...go figure.  I like Bear Creek soups for quick meals on cold (or cool) days.  But the sodium in them kills me (literally and figuratively I'm sure).  My solution:

Double the water!  You can't tell the difference...I think it tastes better.  I cook mine with sausage usually (yeah I know...adding sodium right back in).  But I double or nearly double the water from 8 cups to 14 cups or more.  I also like to add extra noodles and a can of diced tomatoes or corn or beans or whatever extra good thing I have in the freezer or on the shelf.  Bonus:  it stretches even further in addition to hopefully lowering the sodium per serving.  Just passing on.  I'm sure there are healthier soups out there but like I said...this is my lazy day meal. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Yep...I bought into the fad idea of making my own wipes.  Mainly because we didn't renew our Sam's Club membership (I loved their wipes) and the cheapy Walmart brand seemed to cause more diaper rashes.  Here is the formula I use and prescribe to.

- Roll of paper towels (I like the select-a-size ones); each roll makes two.
- 1 Tbsp Baby oil
- 2  Tbsp Baby wash (I use Aveno due to a sensitive skin kiddo)
- 2 cups water
- Lavender essential oil - just a few drops **I added this on later as I found one girl was getting rashy/yeasty somewhat frequently...Lavender oil is an anti-fungal oil and is also gentle for babies skin.  It has done the trick; and no I'm not a hippy haha**
- container (I love my Sterilite ultra seal container found here)
- cheap steak knife (I bought some at the $1 store with jagged edge/teeth to save my good knives)

Cut your paper towel in half.  One half of a paper towel fits perfectly in the Sterilite container linked above.  I don't remember the exact measurements on baby wash and oil (and I just guess when I make them now anyway) but I do recall it is more baby wash than baby oil.  I mix up my water, oil and wash (if you're container seals tight enough shaking is great) then submerge your paper towel, put the lid on and immediately flip over.  Add small amount of water if need to wet missed parts.  Remove your tubing once it is wet and pull wipes from the middle.