Rotini Bake

I have never been too big on leftovers, but lately I’ve been including one leftover night in my weekly meal plan just to give me a little more time to spend with Milo on the days he goes to preschool.  Although I don’t love the idea of serving my family something that was cooked previously, they don’t seem to mind too much, so I guess it’s okay…as long as I don’t do it more than once a week! 

This rotini bake is pretty simple and not fancy at all. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal paired with a nice, green salad! And if you’re into the whole leftovers thing, it keeps great for a day or two in the fridge.

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Rotini Bake

1lb whole grain rotini pasta

1lb ground beef

1 28oz jar of marinara sauce (my favorite is Newman’s)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 15oz container ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of pasta water

2 cups mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta until al dente (save a 1/2 a cup of the pasta water!) and brown beef in a skillet. In a large bowl or in the pot you cooked the pasta in, combine the pasta, beef, tomato sauce, basil, parsley, ricotta cheese, water, and salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish. Mine was 3.75 qt and was up to the top. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes. This will serve 6 in one sitting, or 3 for two nights!

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Enjoy!

Momma’s Shepherds Pie

Yesterday was a good day for comfort food. It was Milo’s first day of Pre-preschool, my first day of my internship, and Sam had to go to the post office, so I’d say we were all in need of a little comforting from some food. By the way, Milo did pretty good. They didn’t have to call me to come get him, so he didn’t cry the whole time. He played a little bit, but when I looked in on him before I picked him up, he was walking around, swinging his arms, and wailing away. It broke my heart but he dried it up the second he saw me. Poor, sweet baby. Anyway, back to the food…

My mother’s shepherds pie was one of those dishes that I never cared for while I lived at home.  It wasn’t until about 7 years after I moved out that I started craving it..and her meatloaf, which I always hated while I lived at home. I searched the internet for a recipe similar to hers, but all the ones I found online were super gross looking and nothing like what my mom made. I finally decided to break down and just ask her. That was a big step for me since I complained so much every time she cooked it. Anyway, she was happy to share, and so am I!

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And just to be clear, I understand that true shepherds pie is made with lamb and cheese is definitely not a normal ingredient, but this is the shepherds pie I grew up with!

Momma’s Shepherds Pie

1lb ground beef

1 sweet onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small can tomato paste

2 large potatoes

1 can early peas

2-3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare mashed potatoes as you normally would with the 2 potatoes, set aside. Brown the beef in a skillet, add onions and garlic until onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.  Drain meat mixture in a colander, then add back to the skillet to mix the small can of tomato paste.

In a 2 quart casserole dish, spread meat mixture on the bottom. Drain the liquid out of the peas, and spread the peas on top of the meat mixture. Layer a cup of the cheddar cheese on top of the peas, then top with the mashed potatoes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, or however much it takes to cover the potatoes. Bake for 25 minutes.

Now, I am not a fan of leftovers. I cook a fresh meal for my family every night, EXCEPT when I make this. It’s so good the second day and with just the 3 of us, there is plenty left over for the following night. Enjoy!

Fancy-pants Ramen Noodles and Yard Work!

Wow, I have been a bad blog momma.  Sam has been keeping me really busy with..um..cooking and other wifely duties..and stuff.  Anyway, I am here now and I am just going to share a few photos of what we have been doing around the yard and in the kitchen! Remember when I got home a few months ago and the driveway and yard looked like crap? Well, my husband was sweet enough to cut the grass and help me clean up the horrible looking mess we had in our driveway today.  Nevermind the fact that he threw a bunch of leaves and weeds over the side of our wall into the neighbors yard!

Yay! Now people won't be afraid of my driveway.

 

Thanks to my awesome husband for the grass cutting and tree trimming job he did on our yard. =)

 

So there.  The yard looks great and just in time for my baby shower on Saturday, which I am extremely excited for and so happy that I have a great friend like Mandi to pull it all together and throw it for me! But more to come on that later. As far as a pregnancy update goes, I am now 34 weeks pregnant and hating my life more each day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to see Miles in about 6 weeks, but I am so very uncomfortable lately.  I had my first real food aversion last night.  It was one of my favorite things and something I use almost every night in my suppers – raw garlic.  The smell of it brought tears to my eyes and vomit to my mouth.  Lovely, I know.  Hopefully it was just a one night thing, but we will see when I start to prepare dinner tonight.  Speaking of dinner, I have a wonderful recipe that I would like to share.  I like to call it fancy-pants ramen noodles, but it’s known better as beef and broccoli noodle bowl.

This is for 2-3 servings, could be 4 if you served egg rolls or some other side with it:

8oz beef stir fry strips (cooking oil to cook it in)

2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 nice sized garlic cloves

1 to 2 14oz cans of beef broth (depending on how soupy you like it. I used 1)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup julienne carrots

2 cups fresh soba noodles, or 2 packages ramen noodles.

Cook beef strips until brown. Stir in ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or so.  Add beef broth, soy sauce, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add broccoli and carrots.  Simmer covered for 3 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add soba noodles or uncooked ramen noodles and cook for 3 more minutes and voila! You have yourself a low-fat, yummy dinner!

Add another can of beef broth if you'd prefer more juice!

 

Have a great Thursday, everyone!