Saturday, July 2, 2011

WF, Manicotti, and SPF

I have recently discovered a new obsession in my life: Whole foods!!!  I read a blog by a girl who goes there all the time, and earlier this week I headed over to WF, and seriously could have spend hours in there.  I started my journey by having this for lunch:
This was a mediterranean quinoa salad    
They had so much to choose from, and I was kind of overwhelmed, but I've been wanting to try quinoa so I went for it.  The verdict?  Not my favorite.  It kind of just tasted like I was chewing on some wheat or something.  Maybe it would be better with more flavorings.  However, once I got over my wheat-like-quinoa experience I was in heaven!  They have the most amazing selection of groceries, and their produce section is THE BEST.  Everything is so fresh and delicious-looking.  I came home with all of this loot:
Yummmm :)
So to sum up: Whole Foods is my new best friend, and I want to start getting all of my produce from there because it is the

Ok so on to the manicotti.  Austin was out of town again this week (he went to Malakoff to visit our friend Zac), so when he got home on Thursday night I wanted to make him a good little meal.  I had originally planned to make Rachel Ray's recipe for 4 cheese stuffed shells, but the store didn't have any giant shells, so I improvised and kind of made up my own recipe for 3 cheese manicotti.  To go with it I decided to try making some sweet potato fries (Austin called them SPFs haha).  Here's the recipes with some pictures!

3 Cheese Manicotti
1 box manicotti shells (1 box contains 14)
1 lb ground beef
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6-7 basil leaves, chopped or torn
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon oregeno
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese (1 bag)
4 cups mozzarella cheese (1 big bag)

In a large pot, boil as much water as you can and cook the manicotti shells for 7 minutes or until al dente.  Drain, set the shells aside, and let cool.  While the shells are cooking brown the meat and drain.  Next, chop up your veggies and herbs:
Garlic, onion, and basil (I didn't feel like buying parsley, so I just used dried)
In the same pan that you cooked the meat, add the EVOO, onion, and garlic.  Saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender.  Then, add in the meat and tomatoes.  Stir in the rest of the herbs and spices (basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic salt), and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While the sauce is simmering mix together the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the parmesean in a bowl.  

In a pyrex baking dish pour a little bit of the sauce (just enough to cover the bottom).  Now, fill the manicotti with the cheese filling.  Line the baking dish with 7 or the manicotti, and then put a little bit more of the filling on top:
I know there's 8 here, but I'd use 7 next time I made it...
Pour the rest of the sauce on top, and then cover with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses:
Kind of looks like lasagna, huh?
Bake at 450 degrees for about 6-7 minutes, or until the cheese is all melty and bubbly.  This recipe got the Austin stamp of approval, and I will definitely be making it again.  I took the remaining 7 manicotti and just froze them to make another time.  I suppose you could just half the recipe for the cheese filling, and only make 7 at one time, but I wanted to make them all at once.  Either way works though!

Ok and here's the recipe for the sweet potato fries...I used one from Paula Deen, but I didn't have any of her "house seasoning", so I left that out.  

Sweet Potato Fries (SPF)
2 sweet potatoes
garlic salt 

Basically you just wash and peel two sweet potatoes, and then chop them into "fries":

Drizzle the fries with a little bit of EVOO, and toss to coat.  Lay them on on a sheet pan lined with foil, and sprinkle on a little bit on salt, pepper, garlic salt, and paprika.  Toss the fries again, and slide them into a 450 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the fries are tender.  

Make sure to turn them a couple of times while they are baking.  Let them cool for about 5-10 minutes, and then serve!

Sorry I don't have pictures of the final products, but I had to rush off to work, so I let Austin finish the cooking...everything turned out really yummy though :)

Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone...I'll be back next week to tell y'all about the shenanigans we get into this weekend! 


1 comment:

  1. Yet, another Maybe you should have your own cooking show as well. I could soooo see it! I'm going to test out your recipes, I'll let you know how they turn out.

    Love ya~!