Our whole family loved the first season. We’re 100% for the new one.
In my ongoing quest to be a more useful family member, I have taken on the responsibility of Sunday Dinner. This week’s adventure was a cool 3-cheese & spinach stuffed shell with a side salad. I used this recipe from Lifehacker’s The Takeout sub-site.
We used to have all kind of baked pasta meals when I was a kid but I don’t specifically remember stuffed shells. We were more of a lasagna/baked ziti family.
We just got a new kitchen so I’m not 100% confident in oven temperatures and cook times yet. It was a 50-minute bake that I let run a few extra minutes to get some better browning on the mozzarella. It looked lovely. The salad was just a bagged spring mix. Hopefully we’ll get fresh veggies coming in soon.
I fit 15 stuffed shells into the dish for dinner and we ate a dozen of them. It’s a surprisingly rich meal, which I chalk up to the ricotta. I had enough filling left over for a second dish of 8 stuffed shells that I’ll bake up tonight.
I was cooking chili a could of weeks back and in my recipe research came across Alabama Firecrackers (as featured in Southern Living magazine). The recipe is easy enough, it just takes some time since you leave the crackers overnight in the oil and spice mixture.
16 oz package of saltine crackers
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp (2 packages) ranch dressing mix
3 Tbsp red pepper flakes (if you can handle the heat, add more)
2 cups olive oil
1. Using a large gallon Ziploc bag, pour in the olive oil, seasonings, and spices. Close the bag and knead to thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
2. Place all 4 sleeves of crackers in the bag, re-seal, and gently turn the bag over several times to coat the crackers with the spice mixture. The more times you do this the better the coating.
3. Let the bag sit overnight.
4. Remove crackers and lay out on a baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for about 15 minutes. (Note: If you are short on time, the crackers still taste great skipping the baking Step 4.)
Saltines hold up really well in all of that oil. I guess that makes sense since there is a whole pound of crackers in the bag. The red pepper flakes make them spicy, but not so aggressively so. They make a great partner to a bowl of chili and they’re not bad with a cube of mild cheese.
Ain’t she a beaut? I’ve been bringing this Zojirushi 12oz stainless travel mug/thermos to work every day for the last couple of years. It’s the same size as a Tall from Starbucks but I can enjoy it for an hour if I just have a couple of hot ounces at a time.
We’ve had a couple of different Zojirushi products over the years and they’ve been useful and durable. The cute elephant logo is a nice bonus:
I don’t even know how many years it has been since we had our last, best cup of coffee.
When I finished my Whole 30 this spring I guessed that a two-week return to the strict eating would be a good way to get back on track after a vacation or holiday. I scheduled a Whole 15 for after Labor Day weekend this year since I’d gotten so deep into beers and sandwiches (and pizza and donuts and beer and chips) as the summer went on. Turns out that 10 days was plenty to get the results I was looking for. I lost a bag of weight and shook the sugar-based crash cycles I was into. The Whole life isn’t something that I can reasonably expect to do for long mostly because I don’t want to. It’s too strict and it is too much of a household hassle. I love it as an occasional way to dry out and that is how I’m going to keep using it.
I am glad that I have a Whole 30 to look at as an example of where I am in the dry-out process. It was that history I used to decide that 15 wasn’t going to do more than 10.