Everyone in my household is out of sorts today. One out of the four of us is smiling, sweet, and caring. The rest of us need a reset button. Good thing there’s always tomorrow.
Today would have been my mother’s birthday. I didn’t have a very good relationship with her, and she was a very broken woman, but over the past couple weeks, I have caught a glimpse of her in my daily activities. The good parts. Like the flash of a smile or perfume on a breeze, these good memories come and go and make me wonder if I just imagined them in the first place.
I spent a great deal of my life trying to not be like my mother. Every thing I did was an act of defiance, a protest. I was determined to never have kids, because she had kids and she hurt us. But time smooths over rough edges and life rarely happens according to plan or protestation. One day, I stopped running from my mother’s nature and nurture (or lack thereof), embraced the stepkids at my feet, wiped sticky faces, scolded, read a book, danced, and cooked for this family I never planned for.
I still fold towels like she taught me. And I can make a damn good meatloaf.
That being said: here’s a meatloaf recipe. And an orzo recipe. It’s what for dinner!
Giada’s Meatloaf, also known as Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes
- 2 pounds of ground turkey
- 1/2 onion, diced fine
- garlic, diced fine
- 1 cup plan bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup diced feta cheese
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
Method: Mix it. Form it. Bake it at 375. It’s really good.
Rachael’s Orzo, also known as Cheese Orzo
- 2 cups orzo
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- fresh basil and dried oregano
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
Method: Saute onion and garlic. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Add orzo. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t clump at the bottom. Add oregano and salt and pepper. Cook pasta in liquid until the orzo soaks up the stock and sauce. Finish by stirring in cheese and basil.
- 1 pound of pasta
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- half of large onion, or one small onion, diced
- lots of torn basil
- fresh shredded mozzarella
- Parmesan cheese
- salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, wine to taste
Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Salt them a bit. Add tomatoes. Simmer for awhile, then taste. If it’s too salty because your canned tomatoes were salty, then add a pinch of sugar and a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar. That’s my trick for homemade tomato sauce. They always taste a bit off at first, but with the right combination of salt, sugar (or honey), and vinegar or wine, it’ll be amazing. Simmer, simmer. Add some torn basil. Boil your pasta half as long as you normally would because it’s going to be baked in the oven.
When the pasta is done enough, drain it, and add sauce. Grab a casserole dish and layer the pasta, mozzarella cheese, and basil until you’re out of ingredients. Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of Parmesan.
Cover and bake in the oven on 350 for 20-30 minutes. Take the cover off, crank up the oven, and brown the cheese after your 20 or 30 minute mark.
Spicy Bratwurst and Potato Soup
- 2 bratwurst, sliced
- 1/2 of a pasilla pepper (what I had in the fridge), chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 6 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 amber ale–minus three or four drinks
- Some vegetable or chicken stock, nearly a can
- several glugs of milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- a cup (?) of shredded chipotle cheddar cheese
Saute vegetables–brown sausage. When the vegetables are soft and the sausage is browned, make a roux in the same pan (Butter, flour. Makes a paste. Slightly caramelizes. Absorbs liquids. Thickens.). Add liquids. Slowly, until each small addition absorbs into the flour. Add just enough milk, stock, and beer. The soup could be made with just beer and milk, but I decided to add stock as well. Add potatoes. S & p to taste. Simmer, just under a boil, until the potatoes are tender. Add cheese. It will gently melt. Ladle into bowls. Watch husband grin.
Last weekend, I made this mushroom ragout (with crimini and oyster mushrooms). I intended to make the polenta, but I didn’t get around to it. Instead, I made a double batch of the sauce and tossed half of it with penne. So, this weekend, I have a batch of ragout that I either need to freeze or use.
With this in mind, I picked up some large pasta shells at the MoC, along with some cottage cheese (I sometimes like to use cottage cheese or a combination of ricotta and cottage cheese in stuffed pasta). I had some leftover ricotta from last weekend’s stuffed tomatoes recipe, too. Oh, and the rest of the pesto from that particular recipe.
This dish comes together so easily: mix your cheese (ricotta, cottage, what have you), an egg, pesto, and some Parmesan cheese (or some Italian blend). Salt and pepper to taste. Minced garlic if you like.
Cook and drain your shells. Don’t cook the shells all the way–you will be baking them after all, and if they are cooked completely in the boiling water, they will turn to mush in the oven.
Stuff your shells. Top with the mushroom ragout and more Parmesan cheese. Layer in some sautéed spinach if you feel so inclined (Remember the spinach I was going to use in my curry? Here is where it ended up.).
Bake, in the oven, at 400 degrees until your spider senses tell you to take it out. You should cover it for part of the cooking, and in the last several minutes (or so–nothing is exact when I cook), take the aluminum foil off and let the cheese brown and crisp.