Well, St. Patty's Day has come and gone, all of the fudge has been eaten and all of the green food dye has finally washed off my hands.
I spent Saturday in the kitchen, listening to The Irish Descendants (Raggle Taggle Gypsy, anyone?) and making a load of yummy Irish-themed treats. I started the morning off with potato pancakes with cheese baked into them and bacon and sunny-side-up eggs on top. As soon as the dishes were all cleared I got to work on whipping up some Irish Soda Bread. I made up two loaves; one loaf stayed at home with us, and the second loaf went to my sister in Calgary along with some of the Irish Cream Fudge I had made up the night before. The Soda Bread recipe I used was a true, traditional Irish Soda Bread - no raisins, no sugars, no eggs. Just flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. It was quite yummy.
Since we had slept in quite late (rough night with the kiddos), we more or less skipped lunch, save for munching on fudge and soda bread, so I got to work fairly soon on the Steak and Guinness pie - something that was quite highly anticipated by my husband. Matt loves pie, however it comes, and pie with steak and beer? He was thrilled! The meat in our pie was super, super tender, not just because you simmer it for hours on the stove, but also because we actually used venison, from the young deer Matt got this fall. Young meat = tender meat, and this was melt-in-your-mouth tender meat. My only beef (ha.) with the recipe was the use of Worchestershire sauce - I have an extremely low tolerance for it (Thanks to Denny's, but that's an old story) and I could have subbed it out but I thought I'd leave it in and see if I still hated it. Yep, I do.
Well, I took the next couple days off from the kitchen (we had fish sticks the next night and A&W last night!) but today I'm right back into it. I fortunately had a thought last night that I would like bread today. I have often lamented my lack of foresight when it comes to bread making because had I taken 5 minutes the night before I could have whipped up a sponge, but there's just no rushing a sponge to compensate for that lack of foresight. So when I thought about it last night I threw three things in a bowl, gave it a quick stir, and set myself up to make a great loaf of focaccia today! When you make something like a nice, herby focaccia, you really plan your meal around it, rather than vice versa, so for supper we're having stuffed manicotti with a meaty tomato sauce, so our bread has something to sop up. This meal will involve winging it; I don't use recipes for meat sauces or pasta dishes typically, unless I'm trying to recreate something. And as it goes, I make a mean manicotti, so why would I try to make someone else's?
Here's a general idea of what I did for the manicotti tonight:
1 lbs ground beef
1/2 lbs ground pork
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c. red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar, divided
salt and pepper
15 manicotti pieces, cooked and slightly cooled
Cook up beef and pork in a skillet, set aside in a medium bowl. Cook onion in a bit of oil until tender. Add garlic and heat until flavors release. Deglaze with wine. Pour in crushed tomatoes and add spices. Cook over medium until heated through. Pour half of the tomato sauce over the cooked meat and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl combined cottage cheese, egg and 3/4 c. shredded cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. Fold cheese mix into meat mix.
Stuff manicotti with meat and cheese mixture and lay piece in a casserole dish (make sure the manicotti pieces aren't touching in the dish). When all of the pieces are stuffed, pour remaining tomato sauce over and top with remaining shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
This makes A LOT of food. Matt and I ate until we were totally full, and we each had 3 pieces of manicotti, so if you're not cooking for company, divide the manicotti between freezer-safe containers before you top them with the remaining sauce and cheese. These freeze great!
As a bit of a disclaimer, sometimes I post healthy meals that pay attention to calories and fat content... this is not one of those times. I don't know the fat content of this meal, nor do I want to, but I know it tastes great, and so while you shouldn't eat this everyday, once in a while is great!
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)