Monday, March 7, 2011

What's for dinner?

So, there were not a lot of posts last week, I fully realize that I've been slacking on my blog.  But life is busy.  I keep thinking things will slow down, but they don't.  I guess it's better to be busy than to be bored.  I made a dinner last night for my family that I thought was worth sharing.  I fully realize that I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be a food blogger.  So excuse the pictures.  They may be unappetizing, but I promise if you make these recipes the results are tasty!

Have you ever made homemade Manicotti?  I have to admit that I hadn't until last night.  But when I was in California at Liz's house last weekend she made this for us and it was so good and so easy that I just had to try it for myself.  And you know if I think something is this good and easy I have to share.

Now something might look horribly wrong in this dish in the far left corner.  But there is a reason for that.  I have a son who absolutely detests cheese, unless it's on pizza under pepperoni.  So my solution to his dinner woes was to put some Costco frozen meatballs in the pan for him as well.  And they cooked beautifully with the Manicotti and everyone at my dinner table was happy.  Here's the Manicotti recipe.

Liz's Manicotti

1 box Manicotti shells
1 container cottage cheese (regular size)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 jar Prego (she uses Fresh Mushroom flavor, and so did I and it was yummy!)

Mix 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese (saving 1/2 cup for topping), all of the cottage cheese, the Parmesan cheese, and the egg (I also added about 1-2 tsp. of Italian Seasoning because I like the contrast of the seasonings with all the white cheeses).  Pour half of your Spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a greased 9X13 casserole dish.  Then take your cheese mix and start spooning and stuffing it into your uncooked Manicotti shells.  Line these up in the bottom of your casserole dish.  Once all of your shells are stuffed pour the remainder of your sauce over the stuffed shells.  Pour 1 C of water into the sides of the pan (I poured the water into my empty sauce jar and shook it up before pouring the water into the dish, that way you use all the sauce).  Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover, add remainder of mozzarella (I also had some left over cottage cheese mixture and spooned that on top as well and it was sooo good!) and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Seriously, this was so easy and so good!  I was surprised that you don't have to even cook the noodles before you stuff them.  That extra cup of water that you pour into the pan cooks them perfectly and nothing seems soggy at all.

I also made a salad with my favorite vinaigrette, so I thought I'd share that recipe too.  

I think I've shared this recipe before, but it's worth repeating.  If you haven't tried this salad dressing you need to put it on your calendar to try.  I got it from and it is a winner.

Greek style Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar (I also put a few splashes of balsamic vinegar because I like the flavor)

  • Put all of these ingredients into a mason jar, seal the lid tight and shake.  The Dijon mustard will act as an emulsifier and incorporate all of your ingredients together.  

  • This salad dressing makes an awesome Greek salad.  Just use Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, peppercinis, cucumbers, and croutons.  Trust me, next time you have to "bring a salad" bring this one. 

  • I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for the Greek salad, so I just used what I had.  Did you notice that I had beans in my salad?  Kinda weird, right?  Not really.  I saw this idea recently in a magazine and thought it was genius.  I used Canellini beans and they are tasty, fiberlicious and make your salad much more filling.  

We also had a fruit salad for dessert.  When I was taking a picture of the fruit salad Hallie said, "Mom, no one needs a recipe to make fruit salad!"  And she's right.  But I'm going to share what I do anyway.  

  • Lately we like a mix of strawberries, oranges and apples.  But the secret is to dice your apples kinda on the smallish side and then squeeze the fresh orange juice down on the top.  This will keep the apples from browning and give them a fresh zing.  So good!   All the orange juice sweetens the strawberries so no need for any sugar.  


Keely said...

Thank you for this post! Even if it's simple stuff (salad/fruit salad), I am one who needs suggestions on how to change things up a bit! (love the dressing recipe, can't wait to try it!)

Rebecca Irvine said...

Yum! This looks so good.