• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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John’s Marinara Sauce

John's Marinara Sauce
John’s Marinara Sauce. Recipe test from Urban Vegan’s upcoming cookbook The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes (publish date: late 2009).

My favorite spaghetti sauce was Jo Mama’s World Famous Spaghetti Sauce. No longer! This vegan sauce was delicious, rich, aromatic, and hearty! I served this over some spaghetti noodles with a side salad with Dynise’s basil-flax dressing. She said we could put some nutritional yeast on top but I felt it needed nothing but an appetite.

We’re not supposed to give details but I think it should be alright to say there’s wine in it. That’s quite common. I’m not a drinker so wasn’t sure about what to get. I was also feeling adventurous so stopped at the new, locally run wine shop on the corner called “Wine for Cheese.” They were a pleasure to deal with! I said what I was doing — spaghetti — and he went through the different reds he had. He definitely had a passion and knowledge of wine! I later learned that my mother stopped by the same place a few days ago to get a wine from Georgia (Russia). The gift receiver was very impressed!

Red wine
Agur Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

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Day 7 of the menu plan: Spaghetti Pie

Today was the last day in the week of menu plans. As planned, I made Creamy Spaghetti Pie. I used to make spaghetti pie a bit when I was on Weight Watchers. I thought I’d try again with a meatless version.

Creamy Spaghetti Pie

It didn’t go very well, but tasted alright. I used low-fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta. That was fine. But it was all very runny. And it didn’t fit into my pie pan at all. Not sure what happened to cause all the excess water. I’m sure the leftovers are going to be amazing though.

Instead of serving it with the planned green beans, I served it with a salad so that I could try out a dressing.

Doing a menu plan for the week is nice but I need to focus on it more and read the recipes better. Maybe then I won’t end up cooking till late at night for that evening’s meal. This week is going to be a whirlwind anyway. This weekend is the conference where I present a 40-minute session on marketing to the younger generation. There’s also library board meeting, class, Toastmasters meeting, class team meeting, and more.

Then it calms down a little but not as much as it’ll calm down in December! (Right around the corner. See it? Hi! There it is.)

Spinach and Pine Nuts

And then, there were leftovers! I had pine nuts on my counter that were an impulse buy. Spinach in the bag was leftover from the lasagna spirals, plus I kept a couple spirals in the fridge for lunch today. I figured I’d have a chance to get some natural daylight as a light source.

Lasagna Spiral Rolls and Spinach

I found a recipe for spinach with pine nuts (see recipezaar recipe here) and served it with the nuked lasagna spirals.

Badaboom. Big badaboom. Microwave + spiral == a mess. I don’t like microwaving in plastic so put it on a plate. I forgot to put a shield over it. Oops. But it cleaned up easily.

Lasagna Spiral Rolls and Spinach

Freezer Fun Food: Lasagna Spirals

When I saw lasagna spirals on Lynn’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try. I added it to my first menu and here it is. Rolling up little lasagnas sounded work intensive but wasn’t that bad. Also, they’re so fancy looking that I have something for a fancy menu.

This did take longer than I thought to make though. I didn’t get to try one until 9 p.m. Substitutions that I used were dried oregano and dried basil for the fresh basil. I couldn’t see buying all that basil for just a tablespoon. (Window sill herb garden, you say. I know, I say.)

Lasagna Rolls
Most of this was already on hand except the ricotta (low-fat) and fresh spinach. I wonder how it’d be with frozen spinach instead….

Lasagna Rolls
Hi, I’m a big tray of awesomeness. You know you want me.

Of course there was enough for quite a few servings so I took Lynn’s advice and grabbed all the one-cup containers I had. I found that I didn’t have as many as I thought so I started grabbing other containers. Let’s see which do best!

Lasagna Rolls to the freezer
Ready for the freezer. Here’s hoping!

Lasagna, Salad, Bread, Herb Dipping NomNom

Lasagna! Nom! For mother’s day, I made lasagna. I was given the choice to cook whatever so I started making the spaghetti sauce and then asked which is preferred. Neither. So, I took some sauce and froze it and made lasagna with the rest! Best of both worlds.

Also, I cut up some of the lasagna and froze it. I can’t wait to pull it out at a later date! I have no idea how to cook it but I’ll figure it out. 🙂 Sorry so late in posting my dinner but I got distracted.

Summer school is starting!

Dinner: May 11, 2008

  • Jo Mama’s World Famous Lasagna
    I don’t use many noodles… maybe 6. I’ve tried this a few ways and found that the wine wasn’t a deal breaker for me. It seemed such a waste to use just a little bit of a bottle and the bottle sit around unfinished forever. I also use more garlic… probably around double what’s called for. When I want it spicy, I use two pounds of Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage. When I want a little kick, I just use one and the rest can be homemade turkey sausage or mild. I’ve made this with just one pound of homemade turkey sausage and it was good. I went for the full hot kick for mother’s day.
  • Warmed loaf of bread
    I looked all over for a frozen loaf of bread that I would thaw and cook but couldn’t find one. I grabbed a fresh baked loaf from the deli. Near the end of the lasagna baking, I put the foil-wrapped loaf in the oven to warm up. Better than nothing!
  • Carrabba’s Bread Dipping Spice
    I love this stuff! I use barely any olive oil so it’s basically me dipping the bread into an herb mixture. 😉 Mom preferred butter. Fine with me! More herbs for me. I have found that fresh parsley is much better in this than dried. The rest of the herbs I use are dried. I just stir it some finely diced parsley in with the rest of the herbs. I don’t pulse it or anything. I also use more garlic than called for… of course. I’ve noticed how much the olive oil matters. I couldn’t find the kind I used before so went for a light one. Not the same. I think the one before was in a dark bottle and labeled for dipping.
  • Salad
    Bag o’ salad greens, cucumbers (had to peel cause she had the non-English one), roma tomato, etc. Balsamic dressing.