Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I've been a bad, bad blogger.

Yes, I've been slacking on the blog front. There's just a lot going on; my newest freelance client asked me to work for them in-house, full-time for about a month or so this spring, so I'm scurrying to make headway on other freelance projects before that starts, since I'll be in an office forty hours per week for the first time in a long time. I'm really excited for the change of pace; I'll get to work on some interesting projects and put on real clothes and speak with someone other than my cat.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and drop a few photos before I put up some more substantial posts later this week.

If you've been reading Choice of Pies, you know about my culinary slump, and the great news is I'm finally starting to crawl out of it. I decided, in a fit of frustration, to go back to the basics, and that has helped a lot. Over the past couple of weeks, I've made a few dishes that used to be old standbys for me that somehow dropped out of the rotation. Like stuffed shells:

The filling is so easy: low-fat ricotta, part-skim mozzarella cheese, maybe some parmesan or asiago if you have it, an egg, and some dried Italian herb blend (or fresh herbs, if you have them). I had some leftover spaghetti sauce that I used, but since there wasn't much of it, I sauteed a bunch of frozen spinach and mixed it in to stretch the sauce. I stuffed the boiled shells, topped them with my "Florentine" sauce, and sprinkled some mozzarella on top, then baked it at 375 for about half an hour. Easy, not very expensive, and very tasty served with a big green salad; Dan was thrilled.

I also made one of Dan's favorites: my mom's mac and cheese. It's the easiest mac and cheese ever - one dish, no white sauce - and it comes out perfectly every time. I'll post the recipe tomorrow. This is not the healthiest recipe I've got, but it's delicious and worth it and since almost all my dinners are low-fat I figure I can splurge once in a while.

And lastly, that old classic beef stew: perfect for the drizzly mud-season weather we've got now. I made this on Saturday afternoon, while we stayed home and watched movies; the whole house smelled great as it bubbled away, and I let it cook so long that the meat was falling-apart tender. We ate it while watching another movie (on Dan's laptop, since our DVD player is broken) and enjoyed sopping up the broth with spiced Ethiopian honey bread that we had picked up that morning at the farmer's market. I'm going to have to look for a recipe, because that bread was tasty.

So there you have it: there is a light at the end of my takeout tunnel, and I'm finally crawling out of this slump. Check back tomorrow for Mom's mac and cheese recipe and a review of a great food memoir that I read recently.


A_and_N said...

I have no idea what slump are you talking about Sarah ;) The filled shells looks fantastic! The stew looks delish too :)

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