Saturday, September 03, 2011

Weeding: Today we planned/designed the new raised veggie bed and purchased the supplies.  Tomorrow is building day. So exciting that we are actually going to get this done so that it is ready to plant next spring!
Also, stopped by the greenhouse for sunflowers, mums and ornamental peppers to spruce up the few planters I have on the front steps.  The pansies in them have been neglected too long and are looking terrible (leggy, sparse, few blooms). 

Reading: Still reading Rhoda.  She is now in her 30s and not very likeable.  It is still good to read, though.  It is one thing when a character is not likeable but you can tell that she doesn't like herself either.  It is another when a character is not likeable and doesn't know it (examples that come to mind are whats-her-name in Eat Pray Love and Julie in Julie and Julia).  Those are characters I don't even care about and don't like to read about.  I am just waiting for Rhoda to hit bottom and turn it all around.  The writing is so good - just love it!

Eating: I made a triple batch of Bolognese sauce this afternoon.  I had planned to use fresh tomatoes for at least part of the tomatoes but after finely chopping 2 onions, 3 stalks of celerey and 4 smallish carrots, I was done chopping for awhile and used canned tomatoes as the recipe calls for.  The other veggies and herbs (rosemary and parsley) were fresh, though.  I puree the sauce instead of leaving it chunky - E would spend too much time picking out the chunks if I served it as is.  This way, he gets all the goodness of the veggies (taste- and nutrition-wise) without the work.  I add the meat (usually just ground beef but maybe Italian sausage or pancetta if I have them) after the blending - pureed meat is not appetizing.  Will freeze this sauce so we have go-to dinners in the freezer.  Just cook up the rigatoni and get a little bread to soak up all the tomatoe-y goodness!  This is a Weight Watchers recipe, from the old point system (4 servings, 6 points as written), the Pure Comfort cookbook.  I have no idea how it translates to the new system. 
Rigatoni Bolognese
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2# lean ground beef or turkey
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 C. flat-leaf parsley
1/4 C. dry red wine or beef broth
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2 C. rigatoni
1/4 C grated parmesan
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Finely chop onion, celery, carrots and parsley.  Heat oil in large saucepan over med-high.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 mins. Add celery, carrot and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 mins.  Add beef (unless pureeing sauce later) and cook until browned, breaking apart.  Stir in tomatoes (undrained), parsley, wine, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until bubbly, about 5 mins. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 mins.  Discard rosemary and bay leaf. 
Meanwhile, cook rigatoni per package instructions.  Drain and transfer to large bowl.  Add sauce and toss.  Sprinkle with cheese and basil just before serving.

My notes: after sauce has cooked, transfer to blender in small batches (no more than half a blender-ful at a time - ask me how I know) and puree until desired consistency. Stir in browned beef (or turkey sausage or whatever meat you like) and continue with instructions above.  Or, let it cool and freeze in freezer bags in smaller batches.  I always mark mine with contents, date, and instructions ("add to 1 C rigatoni" if it is a half batch, for example). 

A tasty way to get some of your daily veggies in.  Enjoy!

Until we eat again,

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