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Monday, December 28, 2009

Spinach and Hamburger Stuffed Shells

Source: Food Network- Giada De Laurentiis

I should say that Giada is the inspiration for this recipe, and not the source since I changed so many things! When I initially planned to make this meal I was going to used the ground turkey the recipe calls for, but the price is soooo much more than hamburger, that I couldn't really justify the expense. Maybe eventually I'll try ground turkey.

We've had the stuff for this recipe for awhile, but with my lack of desire to cook it just kept getting put off. H finally decided that he wanted to make it, with a good dose of my assistance!
  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 package spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (used 4 tsp dried basil)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (used 2 tsp dried parsley)
  • 5 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add the spinach and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooled beef mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marinara sauce.
  • Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of beef mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells.
  • Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella.
  • To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
Next Time- H really liked this recipe, but I wasn't really a fan. I prefer my other stuffed shells recipe that doesn't have meat. But there was nothing wrong with this recipe, even with all my changes.

14 Week Appointment

So I saw the doctor today. Can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I saw her last. They checked my weight and I'm down 4lbs since that last appointment, and 10 lbs since the beginning of November. They seemed a little concerned, but I'm not. I know Baby Rebel is getting what they need, and 10lbs isn't a lot if you knew how much I weigh.

My blood pressure was normal, which is a relief. The only other thing I did while there was get to listen to the heartbeat with a Doppler. She found the heartbeat right away, and it was high 150s-low 160s, so very good. I had my cell phone with me, so I recorded about 30 seconds of the heartbeat. This way Tim and my family can hear it, since my family Christmas is this weekend.

I also discussed some of my symptoms with the doctor. I told her about the fever I had on the 15th. I told her about the headaches I was getting before entering the 2nd trimester. The one thing I mentioned that I wasn't sure if it was relevant was a pain I've been getting towards the top of my butt on the right side. It is lower than my "lower back", and I really only notice it when walking. When I told Dr. Klyn she said it was normal. Ok, that means I have to live with it.

This morning while getting ready I drank a bit of water to take my vitamin, and while waiting for my toast to finish Baby Rebel decided they didn't like the water and made me throw it up! Luckily my toast stayed down fine. It seems the throwing up will continue in the 2nd trimester, although it is only on an empty stomach.

I go back in 4 weeks. Dr. Klyn said they will call me to schedule the big ultrasound (ie. the gender ultrasound). I was hoping to know today the date we would find out the gender. I guess we have to go to the hospital for the ultrasound. Here's to hoping they call soon!

Update- Just got the call from the doctor's office. Big u/s is set for February 1st! Just over a month till we know whether Baby Rebel is a boy or girl!!! YAY!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easy Layered Taco Pie

Source: Kraft Foods

I've got my mojo back! Haha! Not really, but that's what it feels like. In the last couple days I've gotten my appetite back, and have started feeling more like myself. Including a desire to cook. I had a couple recipes leftover from when I last made a menu, a few weeks ago.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inch), cut into quarters
  • 1 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican Style Finely Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 green onions, sliced 1/4 cup Sour Cream

Preparation- Note: I cooked the meat on the stove, and used the oven to melt the cheese. These directions are the original.
  • Crumble meat into microwaveable (plastic) colander; place over microwaveable bowl.
  • Microwave on HIGH 8 min., stirring every 2 min. to break up meat.
  • Discard fat.
  • Transfer meat to 9-inch microwaveable pie plate.
  • Stir in seasoning mix and water. Microwave 5 min., stirring after 3 min.
  • Remove half of meat mixture; set aside.
  • Cover remaining meat mixture in pie plate with half of the tortilla quarters.
  • Repeat layers of meat mixture and tortillas; top with salsa and cheese. Microwave 4 min.
  • Top with remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges to serve.
Next Time- This recipe was so easy to make, and it tasted great. No changes need to be made.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pregnancy Update

Just thought I'd let everyone know how things are going.

I haven't seen the doctor since my last post. My main and only consistent symptom is my stomach feeling off. It just kinda hurts all the time. I never really feel hungry, I just start coughing and dry heaving which is my signal to eat something. I rarely throw up.

Tuesday night was a pretty low point. I woke up from a nap about 1pm and my body ached. Mostly my lower back, and left knee which I injured in high school. I also had a headache that wouldn't go away, even with Tylenol. I was taking the Tylenol every 4 hours, and drinking plenty of water. Around 9pm I took my temperature and it was 99.6. When H got home from work at 11:30 he told me to take it again and it was 100.7. I decided to have the on-call doctor paged just to make sure there wasn't something more I could be doing. He called back and told me that there wasn't anything more he could do, unless I had something more specific like a sore throat.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling much better. So I'm not sure exactly what I had. I was really worried it was the flu. Now I'm back to just dealing with my stomach.

My next appointment will be the Monday after Christmas at 14 weeks! Can you believe that next week I enter my 2nd trimester! I'm already a 3rd of the way through this pregnancy! We haven't even made our first baby purchase yet! Instead of the traditional onesie, or similar clothing item, I'd really like to buy a book for the baby since H and I are really big readers. Yes, we're that big of dorks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crockpot Asian Beef and Noodles

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

I thought this recipe looked good. I was intrigued that it used ramen noodles, without the spice packet. Plus it could cook all day with little fuss from me.

Ooops, forgot to take a picture. But Lauren's blog has a pretty decent picture.

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, broken
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • Coat a 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Place frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with stew meat.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together stir-fry sauce, water, and red pepper.
  • Pour over stew meat and vegetables in cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4 1/2-5 hours (I recommend low, it will help to break the meat down more).
  • At the end of cooking time, discard spice packets from ramen noodles.
  • Stir noodles and green onions into meat mixture.
  • Cover and let stand 10 minutes more.
  • Stir before serving. This can be kept on warm for 1-2 hours.
Next Time- Honestly, I never tried this. I made it, and it didn't sound appetizing when it was done, so I just had it ready for when H got home from work. He says it was great, and has really liked the leftovers. Maybe when my appetite is less finicky I'll try again.

Easy, Cheesy Tortellini Bake

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

This week I decided to actually make a menu and go grocery shopping. Pregnancy has severely reduced my desire to cook. Since I've been slowly getting my appetite back, I decided to make this step that was weekly before getting pregnant. Lauren never fails with her recipes, and this looked easy enough for my short attention span in the kitchen right now.

  • 1 large (25+oz) packages cheese tortellini
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions; drain.
  • Bring marinara and Alfredo sauces along with spinach and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir cooked tortellini into sauce, then pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
Next Time- This recipe was great. Great flavor, and of course lots of cheese. H really enjoyed this. He said it was one of the best, but he hasn't had good cooking in awhile so it may just be his taste buds waking up!