Steve's friend came over to visit, leaving me with the whole afternoon to cook! Only three days into my New Year's Resolution, I'm starting to think it's more about actually getting into the kitchen and cooking ahead more than it is about planning. I've always had plenty of plans- and plenty of trouble following through with them. I may change my little graphic to "What's Cookin' in 2013?".
Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf
I copied this recipe from a friend's vegetarian cookbook. There's no sense in giving you the recipe since, as usual, I changed a few things. It was very similar to this vegetarian meatloaf, except that I used no protein substitute- just beans and lentils. I wasn't really trying to replicate meatloaf. I'm not vegetarian and could've made a meatloaf. It's just that I like Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers, so I thought I might like this. If it turns out well, and I make it again to refine the recipe, I'll share it.
On my list for this week was Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells, loosely based on this recipe. I wanted to use the whole box of shells, so I planned on using the whole container of ricotta to increase the volume of the filling, and adding a bag of frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed very dry). Also, I like to use the whole jar of spaghetti sauce, lilke I do for my Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells.
What I didn't plan on was forgetting to buy the pasta shells. So I dropped by a store I normally don't shop in (because I hate because they never have what I want), which didn't even have jumbo pasta shells. So I'm thinking I'm not leaving the store without something. I buy manicotti shells. Same thing, right? Wrong.
First of all, the fragile lilttle things practically come wrapped in bubble wrap! This scared me- I mean, I've even had problems with the pasta shells! Secondly, you're supposed to pipe the filling in with a pastry-icing-squeezer-thingy, which I have. But guess what? This filling is really chunky, so it won't work. (No, I didn't try- I figured it out first...)
This is what it looked like before going into the oven. I think it'll be okey-dokey. It's not for company or anything, after all.
By the way, I love my new OXO Julienne Peeler. It came in a set along with a regular peeler and a serrated one for tomatoes and other soft fruits and veggies (haven't tried that one yet). Look what it did for my zucchini and carrots!
The veggie-stuffed manicotti just came out of the oven:
A sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese near the end of baking hides a multitude of sins! If this turns out to be a good recipe, I'll send you this one, too. If not, at least you know not to buy manicotti shells!
This cooking day should take us through the weekend and keep us out of restaurants. If we decide to eat out, it'll be because we want to, not because we have to!