Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti


Several years ago, I decided I was going to make a lasagna for my friend’s mom (which I like to do for births, funerals, Christmas gifts, get-well presents, and more). She eats very little meat, however, so I decided to make a vegetarian lasagna instead. And she keeps gluten-free, but the only gluten-free noodles I could find in the store were ziti. And when I tried to layer the ingredients they all just kind of smooshed together. It did not turn out like I expected, but my sister and I brought it over to her house, we all shared it while playing Eucher together, and we all had second helpings…

Now, shelter-in-place and limiting shopping trips to once every 2 weeks has made it hard to eat as many fresh vegetables as I would like, so I found myself thinking once again about that vegetable baked ziti and I decided to see if I could recreate it. I tried my hand at it this afternoon, and this evening Joe and I sat on our porch with a glass of red wine to accompany it and we both had second helpings. Continue reading “Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti”

Catching Up On My Third Lord of the Rings Marathon

This winter, I’ve been trying to combat the winter blues by getting out of the house as much as possible. Bar trivia, a bowling league, weekly game night with friends, and a regular date night with Joe have kept me very busy. One thing that kept me home, however, was hosting my third all-day marathon of the Lord of the Rings extended edition films for my friends. The tradition started as an excuse for me to make and eat the food I dreamed of while watching the movies, and every year I do a little bit more than the year before. This year, I expanded the viewing so that I had the movie playing in two separate rooms of the house simultaneously and, in addition to the traditional six Hobbit meals, I decided to make a second entrée for dinner. I thought I must be a little crazy to attempt such a thing, but with so many people in the house the pot roast didn’t quite stretch far enough and besides, some people might want a vegetarian main.

“And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily,  being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them).” – From Concerning Hobbits, The Lord of the Rings p11

When he was still a boy, Frodo earned a reputation with Farmer Maggot as a rascal and a mushroom-thief. In honor of his fondness for fungi, I decided to go with a wild mushroom shepherd’s pie that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perlman. I’ve never made a recipe by her that I didn’t like, but what really sold the recipe for me was that it included directions to make it ahead and reheat it – an absolute necessity when planning such a large event. It was delicious and reheated well as leftovers with a teensy bit of Aleppo pepper sprinkled on the top. I even had one person – an enthusiastic carnivore – tell me he liked it better than the pot roast!

Continue reading “Catching Up On My Third Lord of the Rings Marathon”

Lord of the Rings Marathon Part 2 – Potato Soup and Mushroom Pot Roast

After breakfast and elevensies, which were both sweet, it is time to turn to the savory for luncheon, afternoon tea, and dinner. Time management has never been my strong suit, but in order to make cooking 6 courses for 16 people work, it is absolutely key! So for lunch, I chose a soup I could start the night before and stick in the refrigerator, then heat up add the final touches in a short time in between The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. I thought of Sam making stewed rabbit in Ithilien when he wishes for po-tay-toes; “The Gaffer’s delight and rare good ballast for an empty belly,” as he educates Sméagol. Continue reading “Lord of the Rings Marathon Part 2 – Potato Soup and Mushroom Pot Roast”

Thankful for Turkey Leftovers…

This Thanksgiving, Joe and I celebrated with just ourselves and our cats since work kept us from traveling to see our families over the day itself. It didn’t keep us, however, from having the full experience of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and a full day of watching football a Star Trek marathon on Netflix. The only problem with my insistence on roasting a whole turkey, however, is the fact that the two of us cannot eat all 8 pounds of turkey!

As a result, we’ve had re-heated leftovers, turkey sandwiches, creamy turkey and wild rice soup, tossed about the idea of turkey enchiladas, and – tonight – turkey a la king. Continue reading “Thankful for Turkey Leftovers…”