Saturday, March 16, 2013

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

8. New Recipe 19/20
 
Colin's favorite breakfast food is Oatmeal, but he likes the instant fixed a certain way.
 
Instant Oatmeal in large volumes is not so cheap so I did a little searching, tried a few recipes, and combines ideas to get the perfect mix.
The players
 The players -
1/2 cup Instant (Quick) Oats
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp powdered milk
sprinkle of cinnamon
Snack size bags (I made several at once, keep the bags, then reuse)
 
 
 I make several bags at one time.... Its simple really...
 
Add oats....
 
 
Add brown sugar.... and powdered milk
 
 
 
 
 
Sprinkle on some cinnamon... More or less depending on taste preference...
 
 
Zip up and you are done... I did the math once and it is something like 3 times as much for the same price... Or something like that... Way cheaper!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuffed Shells

8. New Recipe 18/20
I borrowed a wonderful cookbook from my sister Ashley called Cook Yourself Thin. It has some great recipes that are healthy yet delicious meals.

Yummy!

Tonight I tried my second recipe from this cookbook.... Stuffed Shells (according to the book it makes 10 servings and a serving contains 331 calories)
 
The Players

12 ounces (1 box) Jumbo pasta shells (Approximately 40 shells)

For the tomato sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1 (14-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt
2 sprigs fresh basil
Pepper

For the stuffing:
1-pound bag baby spinach
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin
2 scallions, chopped *didn't use in ours
2 cups (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese
1 thin slice ham, chopped *didn't use for ours, made it a meatless meal
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch grated nutmeg *didn't use... Do you know how hard it is to find nutmeg!
Cooling Shells
 For the shells, spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. (I used foil to cover the pan then sprayed the foil... less dishes later!). Put shells in boiling salted water. Partially cook, 6-7 minutes, until slightly tender but still firm. Drain, spread on baking sheet in single layer, allow to cool.
 
Tomatoes in the blender
The recipe in the cookbook says to make the sauce, then the stuffing in the same pan but I decided to work on them at the same time since the sauce had to simmer 20+ minutes.
 
For the sauce, mash tomatoes in a bowl or blender/food processor. 
Red Onion and garlic
 
Heat oil in pan on med-low heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
 
Saute Onions and Garlic
 Cover, reduce heat to very low and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
 
Onions and garlic turning a beautiful done color
Add tomatoes with juice, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. (I did this on medium low heat.)

Tomatoes, basil, and salt added to the garlic and onions
 Then simmer very gently (I did it on lowest heat), partially covered, until thick, about 20 minutes. season with 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
 
 
Spinach and Salt
Add spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a skillet. Cook over medium heat, covered, stirring until wilted, 5-6 minutes. Drain, cool, squeeze out liquid, chop, and set in bowl.

Mandoline helped slice the zucchini thin
 Cut zucchini in half length wise and slice thin. To help with slicing thin, I used a mandoline.
 
 
Saute in olive oil
 Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown. Add scallions and saute another minute.
 
Parsley, Spinach, & Zucchini
Add zucchini to bowl with spinach and parsley.

All mixed up
 Mix zucchini, spinach, parsley, ricotta, ham, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg.
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Assembly Line time
 
Place a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of 2 9x13 pans. Fill the cooked shells with cheese mixture.
 
It makes ALOT
 Arrange shells side by side in a single layer.
Stuffed Shells
 Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells.
Add Sauce
 Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Top with Cheese
 Cover with foil and bake until filling is heated and cheese is melted. 25-30 minutes.
All done
 Doesn't that look delicious!
Melted Cheese
 Verdict: I would add a little bit more salt. Since I didn't use the ham I think it was missing a little salt. But other than that is was wonderful!