I love pasta. I’m even to the point where I’m so used to whole wheat pasta that I love it, too. When I find a vegetable-heavy pasta recipe that is really easy to make, I get excited. Honestly, despite the fact that I don’t (generally) eat meat, I don’t find vegetables too tantalizing, so when I can hide them in pasta and under cheese, I jump at the chance.
I love lasagna, but I hate cooking lasagna noodles, and the pre-cooked frozen ones are kind of pricey and hard to find around here. Since we’ve switched over to organic expensive cruelty-free dairy, I’ve found that cottage cheese is no longer a cheap ricotta replacement. So, lasagna doesn’t really fall into my cheap/easy category anymore.
I was so excited to find a recipe for Spinach & Cheese Noodles in the crockpot online and in this book. That site/book combination is one of my favorite recipe resources! I was not so excited by the results. It wasn’t too flavorful and the pasta dried out in parts and way overcooked in other parts. I was so convinced that I wanted to eat this food that I tried it again, first rinsing the pasta to add some moisture and going back and pushing any pasta sticking out into the sauce. It was better the second time, but still not great. Have you tried this recipe? Did you have better luck than me? I really wanted this recipe to be awesome.
I also made some cream of mushroom soup to use instead of canned soup in other casserole-type recipes. I went to the Campbell’s website and found a recipe for Pasta & Broccoli Bianco. I knew when I assembled it things weren’t going to work out well. My “cream of mushroom soup” was more of a thin-milk-and-mushroom-soup, so the cheese just floated around in the milk, and when I added the sauce to the pasta, the cheese got suck on top, the liquid ran to the bottom, and nothing really stuck to the noodles. I put one batch in the fridge and one batch in the freezer. I baked the fridge batch two days later. If I had a recipe book, I would have called this “Dry Bland Pasta with Flavorless White Soup and Cold Broccoli.” It definitely needed to cook longer to thicken up the sauce and warm the broccoli all the way through. I cooked the frozen batch a few weeks later…the leftovers from the first batch were still fermenting and growing fur in my fridge. The results were the same even though I baked the casserole for over an hour. I think the biggest problem with the dish was the soup. Next time I make it I’ll start with a roux, use higher fat milk, and cook it a little longer so it thickens better. Then I might try this recipe again. Till then, I’ll reheat the leftovers in the microwave so I can keep my budget and make Dave Ramsey proud.
I was avoiding the grocery store the last few weeks of February because we had a bunch of food I wanted to use up. I wanted to try a non-crocked-non-baked veggie pasta and was feeling pretty good about finding a way of using up my $.88/lb broccoli. I decided to make a browned butter sauce to go with spaghetti and broccoli…but I made some mistakes modifications. I used a whole stick of butter instead of 6 oz., ground sage instead of fresh sage, not enough parmesan cheese (which I grated from a rock-solid, really old chunk of parmesan), and sour cream instead of heavy cream. Yeah, I started making it, then found the recipe. I thought it was just going to be browned butter. Oops. Then I put it on half a pound of pasta (rather than a whole pound) and some broccoli. It was really greasy. Next time I’ll do better.
Below is a picture I took of my last dish to see if my chew toy camera had survived. You can judge for yourself.