It feels like a crowd, anyways. Both boys have been at home for the past few weeks, one on his way out to a new apartment and one home from university for part of the summer. Plus the big boy, the constant in my life.
I’ve tried a few new recipes lately, ones with leftover potential for those late night snacks. Here are a couple.
I’d been craving a warm and cozy one pot pasta and meat dish. Normally, for plain old macaroni and cheese, I make Alton Brown’s fabulous and tasty Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese, into which we can add peas, sausages, or just eat plain. It’s great to use up leftover bits of cheese, but don’t use a stringy cheese like mozzarella or it becomes a bit of a mess to eat. If you’re looking for something to wean you off the blue box, this is it.
But this time I wanted something heartier and I found this Beefy Macaroni Casserole that turned out to be seriously addictive. It’s the kind of recipe that is easy to make because it uses things I typically have on hand. I didn’t have any ready-made stock, so I just used more canned tomatoes and it worked out just fine, although I overcooked the macaroni a bit. It should be quite firm before you mix it with the other ingredients.
Finally, I saw this recipe from Chef Michael Smith in the paper. Apparently he’s a big fan of Canadian lentils and the website has a series about them featuring Smith. I prepared the Umbrian Lentils and Sausages using spicy Italian sausages. While I thought the recipe would be under-flavoured, it was pretty much perfect. I confess to NOT using Canadian lentils as I had a bunch in my cupboard. I didn’t even realise we grew lentils in this country, so will endeavour to find some next time.
Yesterday was Pi Day (and a Lenten Friday) and I intended to make some kind of non-meat pie for dinner. I confess to not (yet!) having mastered pie crust so I count on frozen pastry shells, of which I only had one.
So on to plan B.
I’ve always got lentils etc on hand so I googled <lentil pie> and found this terrific recipe for Lentil Chilli Pie with Cornbread Crust for which I had all the ingredients. I used a dutch oven so that I could simply put the cornbread batter over the chilli in the same pot, and then pop it in the oven.
I served it with chopped avocado, hot sauce, and greek yogurt. And then had it again for breakfast this morning!
Speaking of Lent, this giving-up-refined-sugar thing is working in that (1) every time I crave sugar, I’m reminded of this penitential season and say a quick prayer or make the sign of the cross; (2) my sugar addiction seems to be breaking; and (3) I’ve lost 7 pounds, with no other dietary restrictions.
This sacrifice is the hardest one I’ve done in the 10 years I’ve been Catholic. Giving up alcohol was a breeze in comparison. I’m going to consider continuing on with trying to live with a vastly sugar-reduced diet.
Zou and I went for coffee on our walk back from the library today and i got a bran muffin. It’s sometimes hard to know where to draw the line: is a plain croissant “better” than a bran muffin? I got the muffin. it wasn’t sweet. And I put the little chocolate squares that came with the coffee in my pocket for the chocolate addict who lives in my basement. The one who serves himself small bowls of chocolate chips during Lent because his mother isn’t dealing sugar at the moment.