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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lazy Weekend Food

We had the best of intentions for the past weekend. Plans included shopping and getting more work done around the yard and house. Friday night we went shopping and stopped for all-you-can eat fish and chips. It wasn't a real late night but it was very tiring! We woke to rather chilly weather late Saturday morning. Sleeping in late is not normal for either of us. It ended up being more of a grazing type day rather than sitting down for an actual meal. Sunday was cold and rainy so we stayed in, puttering a bit and watching football. So it was a lazy, relaxing weekend.

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is always a welcomed appetizer or snack. It can be made with fresh garlic or garlic powder and a variety of cheeses. The bread is usually a French style of bread. My husband used part of the second loaf of French bread I made Thursday to make garlic bread for a snack. Instead of topping with mozzarella cheese he used Wisconsin mild white cheddar.

Method: Melt 2 tbsp butter. Stir in finely chopped fresh garlic or about 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Allow the garlic to warm but not overheat. Cut loaf of French bread in half, lengthwise. Spread garlic butter on the bread. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350ºF until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Cut into individual servings.

Pizza Snacks

This snack goes back to the time our kids were little except we used hamburg buns and more toppings. Likely every Mom at one time has made a version of these using processed cheese slices. The problem with using processed cheese slices is just that. They are processed! They lack flavour as well. You can get a lot more flavour by using a variety of shredded cheeses and don't just limit your choice to mozzarella or cheddar. Try Asiago, Emmental, Colby, Monterey Jack or even flavoured cheeses.

We now make a grown-up version as an appetizer usually with only cheese as a topping. By simply changing the sauce or the cheese you can get a lot of nice variations. My husband wanted to make pizza snacks using home made pizza sauce. I can pizza sauce each year and since it is into tomato processing season we are completely out of pizza sauce! He used home made pasta sauce instead. This is a smooth, flavourful sauce that I can and looking at my dwindling supplies of it I will be making extra this year. He used the rest of the French bread and Wisconsin mild white cheddar for the snacks.

Method: Cut loaf in half. Spread sauce on loaf half. Top with shredded cheese of your choice. Bake at 350ºF until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven. Cut into individual servings.

Baked Rigatoni

Rigatoni is a wide, tube shaped, ridged pasta with blunt ends. It has a larger diameter than penne. The ridges allow the rigatoni to hold more sauce. This pasta works well with a variety of sauces from hearty vegetable sauces, chunky meat sauces or creamy sauces. There was a half jar of home made pasta sauce left-over from the pizza snack but not enough for baked rigatoni so I used another jar as well. Topped with that lovely Wisconsin mild white cheddar mixed with sharp cheddar it was a comforting meal on a cold, rainy day.

This really is a budget stretching type of meal. It's meatless and using homemade sauce it is just pennies per serving. Yet it tastes anything but inexpensive! If you don't make homemade tomato sauces then a similar meatless sauce would be something like Ragu® pasta sauce. Shred your own cheese for extra savings and use cheeses that have a lot of flavour because you can use less (aka save money) but still get excellent results.

Method: Bring salted water with a little oil to a boil. Stir in the rigatoni (450 g). Cook 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Pour into baking dish. Pour pasta sauce over the rigatoni, mixing well. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350ºF until cheese bubbles. Remove from oven and serve.

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