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Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to Cooking, and How to Occupy a Whiny Six Year Old

So I haven't cooked much in a few days, as a matter of fact, I was stumped for meals and pointed to leftovers for my family. I also had a several day fight with my breadmaker. I think this was due to me deciding to use 50/50 whole wheat/white flour and Wolfgang Puck did not agree with my choice.

Too bad I was too mad about the thing to take pic bread was turning out like a science experiment!

But last night I decided to make manicotti based on the fact that, well, I had the ingredients. I worked at a restaurant in high school/college that made it with spinach, and I have since adopted and tweaked the recipe to make it my very own. This is typically a hit, with, well, pretty much anybody. And it's pretty easy.

What you need:

a container of ricotta cheese
a container of cottage cheese
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
some sliced mushrooms (canned)
frozen spinach
2 boxes of manicotti noodles

1 onion
either a jar of ragu or your favorite marinara sauce or some homemade

black pepper
olive oil
shredded mozzarella cheese
a large bowl, large pot, skillet, lid for skillet, and large baking dish

First of all, put some spinach in a skillet on low and put a lid on it. You just want to steam it enough to thaw out. Fill a large pot with water, pu
t a dash of salt and olive oil, and bring to a boil. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, mushrooms, garlic, about half of the onion, chopped, and about 1 tsp each of basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the spinach.

Once your water is boiling, drop in the manicotti noodles one by one. Boil them about 8 minutes, stirring carefully to keep them from sticking together and breaking. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350. Once they are done, drain and rinse with cold water. Too bad I forgot to take pictures of the ne
xt part-- it would make more sense that way. Carefully slit open a noodle with your finger and put two teaspoons of filling into it. Roll the noodle closed. If you want to be all perfectionistic about it, seal it closed by closing it with a little water. If you're like me, you'll simply flip it over and put the slit side face down in the pan. Once you have your baking dish full of manicotti, pour your marinara sauce of choice over it. Bake for about 15 minutes on 350, then remove and smother with shredded mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 additional minutes. Serve up with garlic bread and salad. Yum!

Oh, and here's how to occupy a six year old. Have said 6 year old mix together filling and stuff the noodles. The stuffing takes a lot of time, and with careful placement of compliments, can be accomplished with a minimum of whining.

And the final product minus a couple of slices (they dissapear quick)--

This week I've also been working on upcycling some different things. Will be posting pictures of coffee cup cozies and such later in the week.

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