Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spaghatta Pah!!!

Miss Lulu loves to cook. Actually both of my kiddos love to cook, and I love to cook with them. Yeah, it's messy. Yeah, it takes time. But these are precious moments, people. They will remember cooking with me and how much they loved it for the rest of their lives.

The other day we made Spaghetti Pie, Lulu and I. Where was Plato? Out back making a snow fort with the neighbor boy. That was fine, Lu and I got to have some quality girl-time. I wish my stupid camera hadn't been out of battery when she was up to her elbows in spaghetti, egg, and cheese... *sigh*. The visual will have to live in my memory. Or we will have to make it again.

She was so proud of herself when the pies came out. They tasted darn good too! This recipe makes 3 pies. You could easily cut it down if you don't need that many, but - like lasagna - these are freezable and can reheat in a jiff for another evening.

(Did I just actually use, "in a jiff" in asentence? yikes)

I took a pie to work and my coworkers raved. Wow. Who knew something so simple that a 7-year-old could make it could be so tasty?

Like many of my recipes, I created this from several I found online. I guess you could call it a recipe mash-up. I always have to write things down when I cook so if it turns out well, I can remember what I did! Only thing I might change about this is maybe add a ricotta cheese layer on top of the spaghetti and under the meatballs and sauce. You could add any pizza-y toppings you like as well (black olives, mushrooms, pepperoni). Sky's the limit here. Enjoy!

Here's the recipe:

Spaghetti Pie (makes 3 - 9” pies)
1 pkg. (14 oz.) of dry spaghetti, cooked and rinsed
3 eggs
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
 2 jars spaghetti sauce (like Prego)
½ pkg. frozen meatballs, reheated
1 pkg. deli-sliced provolone
1 c. shredded mozzarella

Beat eggs with parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and parmesan cheese. Add cooked spaghetti. Here’s where the kids can use their (clean) hands and toss the spaghetti, with the egg and cheese mixture. Press 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie dish, creating a “crust” of spaghetti. Repeat with 2 more pie dishes. Sprinkle 1/3 c. mozzarella over each crust.

Quarter the meatballs and put 1/3 of the total in each pie. Evenly distribute the sauce over the 3 pies. Evenly distribute the provolone slices over the 3 pies.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until crust is a little crunchy and cheese begins to bubble. Serve hot, cut into wedges, with extra cheese or sauce as desired.

At this point you can cool and freeze any uneaten pies. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, until warmed through.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peel and Eat Beer Shrimp

I've been cooking more lately; my life is back on track and I'm feeling kinda inspired. I tend to look at a lot of recipes online and then sort of come up with my own ideas. The problem is, if I don't write them down I forget about them. The other problem is, if I write them down, I tend to lose the recipes!

So this won't be a fancy, photo-laden collection of recipes. It's just my e-scribblings; the blog seemed like a good place to jot 'em down because no matter how long I neglect it, it's always right back where I left it!

Peel-And-Eat Beer Shrimp

1 lb shrimp, about 24-ct size
1 bottle beer (whatever you like; I used Michelob)
1 lemon
2 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbs salt
1/2 onion, halved again
water (if needed)

Devein the shrimp but leave the shells on. This sounds like a lot of work, and it kinda is, but I used kitchen shears and just cut down the back of the shell and pulled out the vein. You might get lucky and get your meat counter guy to do it, or you might get REALLY lucky and find them already done that way!

In a stockpot over med-hi heat, fry up the onion in a little butter. Leave the onion in big hunks because you're gonna get rid of it. Sprinkle in the Old bay and Salt, and when the onion is sizzling, juice the lemon into the mix, and throw in your lemon halves too. Pour in the beer and reduce the heat to med low. Simmer about 15 min. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion. You can keep the lemon in there.

Toss in the shrimp and cook them about 2 minutes. No more than 3. They overcook fast! Remove them with the slotted spoon and set aside (in the fridge if you want them cold). Crank up the heat on the broth, and boil it until it reduces a bit.

If you want to eat them warm, ladle a bit of the broth into dipping cups and add a pat of butter. Start peeling and dipping. This is what we did. They didn't last long!

If you want to eat them cold, forget the butter and cool off the broth, then pour over the shrimp (don't do this with hot broth - it will end up overcooking your shrimp). Store in the fridge until ready to eat - preferably the next day. Serve with lemon wedges and whatever sauce you like... but you won't need sauce!

Hot or cold, you could sprinkle a little extra Old Bay on 'em, and they would probably look something like the peel-and-eat shrimp at Bubba Gump's:

...but without all the gimmick. Run Forrest, Run!