Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Or, I Should Have Made This On Friday. 'cause, it's fish and all.

Again with the BCC. I love that darn crocker. In fact... I should make it a label over yonder →, hmm...

Tuna-Pasta Casserole
from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
prep: 20 min bake: 30 min; 6 servings

Crumb Topping (or 2/3 c crushed potato chips; I used panko and 1 tb butter)
2/3 c crushed cereal or dry bread crumbs
1 tb butter or stick margarine, melted
Directions: Mix. Natch.

1 1/4 c uncooked medium pasta shells or elbow macaroni (about 5 ounces) (I used whole-wheat egg noodles)
2 tb butter or stick margarine
2 tb all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 c milk
1 c shredded sharp process American or Cheddar cheese (4 ounces) (I used some leftover mozzarella and Cabot Vermont sharp cheddar, mmm)
2 c cooked broccoli flowerets (yes, that's seriously how it's spelled in the book) or 1 c frozen (thawed) green peas
2 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in water, drained

1. Heat oven to 350. Make Crumb Topping; set aside.
2. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in 1 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese until melted.
4. Mix pasta, broccoli, tuna and sauce in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with topping (I totally did this before I baked it, oops). Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until topping is toasted.

Nutrition Info:
1 serving: 360cal, 14g fat, 35mg chol, 600mg sodium, 33g carbs, 29g protein, Vit A 28%, Vit C 18%, Calcium 24%, Iron 24%.

The Hubs doesn't like this too much, he'll eat it, but it's one of those things he ate a lot as a child so he's not thrilled about it like I am. Yes, I am. Anything with "casserole" in the name is good for me.


St. Patrick's Day cupcakes

Since I didn't get any alcohol last year for St. P's day, I figured I'd make it a prerequisite this year and put it in my cupcakes (made for a St. P's day pot luck at work that I didn't know about until a day prior).

Back to the trusty ol' Betty Crocker cookbook, to try a recipe I saw before when making the Starlight Yellow Cake (or whatever they decided to call it back in the 50's). That other cake is in my links over yonder →.

So, without further adieu, and I have no idea what that means but will probably Google it later, I give you...The Silver White Cake.

I totally only used 1 cup of milk for this, and the batter I had leftover after I made the cupcakes was poured into a cake pan and got kind of gooey.
My cupcakes continue to come out looking different depending on which pan I use. The darker pan, the edges came out darker than the center. Lighter pans, they were white all the way around. Moral of this story: cheap pans are not all bad.

And now, for the frosting:

3 sticks room-temp unsalted butter, cream them in a mixer
1 lb powdered sugar, add to creamed butter in 1/2 cup increments
3 tb Bailey's Irish Cream, add to frosting and maybe drink some
green food coloring (I used the gel kind, I heart it) to preference

I really really liked the frosting, some people could really taste the Bailey's and my mom couldn't at all...hmm. Anywho, the cake part was fantastic as well, it will be my go-to white cake recipe from now on.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And in the morning, I'm making waffles.

So I got a waffle maker for Cmas, fun fun! I get to use that Donkey line more often now. And apparently my mixer. More to follow on that.

I looked up a couple recipes (DrAnnie, I heart your waffle mixes) and such, but realised I didn't have something that they called for. I can't recall what it is offhand right now, but I didn't have it.

So I used the recipe in the little book included in my WM package. I normally hate doing that, but it was the only recipe that included stuff I have in my house.

Classic Waffles
The Oster Instruction Book That Came With My Waffle Maker

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornstarch
2 TB cornmeal (optional) (You're absolutely right, I did not add this)
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs, separated
2 TB granulated sugar
1 3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

In large bowl, sift or whisk together flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, baking powder and salt to blend thoroughly; set aside.
In mixer bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar; continue beating just until stiff peaks form; set aside.

↑ That's a picture of the egg whites, right?? My work firewall doesn't like some of my pictures so I can't tell!

Whisk together egg yolks, milk and vanilla.
(check out my three bowls ↓)

Using rubber spatula (strong with the Oster people, the English is), stir milk mixture into flour mixture, blending just until dry ingredients are moistened (there should still be small lumps; do not over mix).
Stir in melted butter. Fold in beaten egg whites until combined.

Pour batter onto hot, greased waffle maker and bake.
Makes about 5 1/2 c batter.
Waffle tip: Cornstarch makes the waffles crispier. If you don't have cornstarch, you could still make great waffles by omitting cornstarch and increasing flour to 2 cups. Bake as directed. ~ a friendly tip from the Oster people!

Yum! They were a little light at first because obviously, first time making waffles. hubs wanted his darker, so I left them in longer. They were fab, especially with real maple syrup and jam for Hubs (since he's a syrup unsnob and likes fake syrup which I didn't keep in my house until this week when I broke down and got him some only for him to say he likes the jam on top better).

Oh and also - I refused to drag out That 70's Mixer to do the egg whites thing so I beat them by hand. Never again. I woke up Sunday with "waffle-hand" and couldn't use my right arm for the rest of the day. It sucked, and I didn't realise until about noon that day why it actually hurt so much. So, That 70's Mixer will have a place of honor when my new hutch is delivered in 2-3 weeks.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


this is just to show you out there on the interwebs what a glorious baker I am.
just kidding...I just want to show off my St. Patty's Day cupcake wrappers and green icing!

St. Patrick's Day white cupcakes with Bailey's icing:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The One With My Eyeball Infection

My eyeball started watering a while ago, just the left one, almost like I was crying every five minutes.

Saturday, it started to hurt.

Sunday, it hurt way worse.

Monday morning (the day I started training for my new job, I was a hot mess) the pain was so bad that I threw caution and savings to the wind and made an (costly) appointment with the eye doctor. He poked the skin around it (where most of the pain was radiating into my sinuses by then and every time I sneezed, thanks spring, it was doubly painful) and said "do you feel this lump?" Uh... what lump?

He said I most likely have an infection. Fan-freaking-tastic. What followed was hilarity.

He asked my allergies, then said "have you taken medicine A before?" I remember I did, a long time ago. "Any problems with it?" not that I recall. It was a long time ago.

Run to Target, pick up medicine A, where the pharmacist tells me "Are you sure you are ok to take this medicine? It it closely related to the one you are allergic to. If you break out in a rash or have problems breathing, you should go to the hospital." good Lord.

Run home, empty medicine box, find old bottle of medicine A, which has about a third of the pills missing. Call my regular Dr and ask what happened that I didn't finish medicine A? "It says here that you didn't see any reaction from it at all, so we put you on medicine B instead."

Call eye doctor, explain what happened. "Well it is a different infection so it may work this time... would you feel better if I wrote you a new script for medicine B?" yes please! I like my eyeball! "Ok, you'll have to come back to pick it up though."

Run back to eye doctor, get new script, run to Giant (didn't want Target to think I was crazy/selling things illegally), their computers are down. Wait a half hour for them to come up, get medicine B, pharmacist tells me "Our records say you're allergic to Penicillin so you can't have this." um... what? no, I'm allergic to something else, not Penicillin. "Ok, then this must have been filled out incorrectly, just making sure!" aw, they care.

Run home with medicine B, take four ibuprofen, take medicine B, eat a handful of pretzels, fall asleep on couch.

And the pain is now gone, friends. My eyeball is back to normal. Well, as normal as an eyeball can be.

My New Job

So, for any of you that remember (I don't like telling stories more than once) I was moved from my tiny department (more like our jobs were made to disappear, even though the work was still there) and put into an 'experimental' department.
Well that didn't really get me all hot and bothered so I decided to move to the Operations department. Whee! A promotion and a salary increase all in about a week.

Those perks also come with a downside... I don't know what my hours will be. I may get stuck with any shift from 8-5 to 11-8pm. Boo. That may mean kaput to my 2nd job at the karate school, but my boss knows about it and will try to work around it. So, it will more than likely mean my meager amount of cooking will be scaled back as well.

I'm sorry, blog.

I swear I will try... it has been tough this week and last because of all the changes, and I haven't gotten to grocery shop at all. This means fast food and lots of it. I'm hoping to change all of that and start making more make-ahead healthy stuff, so look for that in the future... and a LOT of 30-minute meals! That RR book I got for Cmas is going to come in reeeeaaaaaaal handy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is this what it's like for normal people?

So I don't usually go to the bathroom a whole lot; I'm kind of a camel. I can hold my liquid pretty well. But now that I'm sick (for the second time this year, WTF??) I have been drinking copious amounts of water because it's the only thing that makes my throat feel un-plagued by this guy.

So now I go to the bathroom all the time. It's insane. I see this is the way the other half lives, so I won't complain too much.

The lady at the self checkout lines at Giant this morning said "Ricola and Tylenol, that doesn't look good." uh... no, not really, thanks for noticing my purchases though! Way to pay attention! I just laughed, since I don't talk until ten am.

Mmm, Ricola...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dinner Divas: Rice Pudding and a sick day

I picked two recipes for Dinner Divas this time, but only got to make one - I am a bad diva! But the one I did make was definately worth it.

Arborio Rice Pudding (the hubs' request) - Dave Lieberman

1 cup water
Pinch salt
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Few dashes ground cinnamon
Whipped cream, for serving (as usual, I didn't have the garnish!)

Bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Shake the pan occasionally and cook until rice has absorbed the water but it still al dente, about 15 minutes.
Bring milk, sugar, vanilla, and a few dashes of cinnamon to a simmer in a separate saucepan. Add the cooked rice and cook at a simmer over medium-low heat until rice absorbs most of the milk and mixture starts to get thick and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer pudding to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator until cool and set. Serve with whipped cream and a dash more cinnamon.


This was a great recipe, next time I think I may take it off of the heat when it's still a little liduidy to make it creamier in the end. It was also good because today is a sick day and leftover rice pudding really comes in handy when you are fighting a repeat performance of that green guy from the mucinex commercials.

Oh, ps, here's what my backyard looks like today, it's not only a sick day but also a snow day:

Panko-Encrusted Tilapia and Mac 'n' Cheese

I decided to go with the whole "fish on fridays" vibe that's going on during Lent in order to eat more fish. Thanks to my new bff, Google Reader, I marked Lovestoeat's blog with the tilapia recipe in it from Martha. It was great, the hubs loved it as well. He was not, however, a fan of the mac 'n' cheese, which was a RR recipe I printed out a loooong time ago. I got a common brand of cheese and got sharp instead of extra-sharp cheddar, so next time I know to get the more flavorful (read: expensive) cheese.

Panko Encrusted Tilapia ~ found here on Lovestoeat's blog

Mac 'n' Cheese - from Rachel Ray via Food Network

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 1 turn of the pan in a slow stream
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite to it (I used mini fusili)
Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 3 minutes. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time. Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.