Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spaghetti Pie for #44

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love food. And my favourite food? Italian. Spaghetti, Lasagne, Ravioli, Cannelloni, Macaroni – you name it. If it’s pasta, I generally love it.

So is it any surprise that when I decided to choose my first recipe for #44 - Make something from every section of my Betty Crocker cookbook, that I picked a pasta dish?

I’ve actually been wanting to make Spaghetti Pie for a while now; ever since my boss/co-worker Sue made it a few months ago and brought it in for me to taste-test. It was so yummy. I printed off a recipe that I found on-line which sounded similar, and intended on making it last night. On a whim, I checked the Betty Crocker cookbook before starting to see if there was a Spaghetti Pie recipe in it, and bam – there it was, in the Casserole section! Perfect!

See, Lindsay gave me this Betty Crocker cookbook for my birthday last summer, and it is a fairly in-depth cookbook – it covers pretty much everything, from Appetizers & Beverages to Cookies & Candies, from Cakes & Pies to Eggs & Cheese, from Breads to Meats & Poultry...and everything in between. There are 17 sections. SEVENTEEN. If I hope to make something from each section before this 1001 day limit is up, I gotta get crackin’.

So I’m going to write out the Betty Crocker recipe for you here, and in brackets, I will tell you what I actually did – as I switched up some of the steps for the recipe I found on-line (based on how Sue made hers), and then I added a few little “Jill twists” to it – because I never follow a recipe exactly unless I’m super-sure I’m going to mess it up!

Spaghetti Pie

Prep: 10 mins, Cook: 16 mins, Bake: 45 mins, Stand: 5 mins, Makes six servings


4 oz uncooked spaghetti (if you hold uncooked spaghetti together in a bundle, 4 oz is about as big around as the size of a quarter)
½ lb lean ground beef
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 jar (14 oz) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)

(In my twisted recipe – I also used 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese & 2 Tbsp margarine)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Spray 10-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. (whoops, forgot this part) Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.

2. Meanwhile, in skillet, cook beef, bell pepper, and onion over medium heat 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in pasta sauce, chilli powder, salt & pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. (I had a container of homemade pasta meat sauce in my freezer, so I pretty much skipped this step, and just defrosted my sauce in the microwave).

3. Place spaghetti in pie plate; gently press on bottom and 1 inch up side of plate. (Despite Betty's handy instructions on how to measure spaghetti, I still ended up with too much, so my "crust" was kiiiinda thick. oops!)

4. In small bowl, stir eggs and cottage cheese until well mixed; spread evenly over spaghetti. (Here's where I went off the page and followed the other recipe instead. I actually mixed the 2 eggs, beaten, into the spaghetti noodles, along with 2 Tbsp of margarine and the parmesan cheese. I also tossed in a Tbsp of Epicure's Bruschetta herbs because the spaghetti looked so plain and sad. I left the cottage cheese as is.)

5. Spoon beef mixture over the cottage cheese. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set. (My other recipe called for 25-30 minutes, so that's all mine got). Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Let me tell you – it was deeeeelish! I added a slice of garlic bread to my meal by taking ½ a Tbsp of margarine and blending with Epicure's Herb & Garlic dip mix and spreading it on a piece of multi-grain bread, then sprinkling it with a bit of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese and broiling it for 5 minutes.

As you can see, the first piece does not look like pie. I also probably did not wait for five minutes before hacking into it...

Next time, I would leave out the Brushetta herbs in the spaghetti, or not put so much, because the flavour was too strong. Otherwise, it was great, and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Update on the 101 List

Still not a whole lot going with the 101 accomplishments, but I do have a few little check marks to add.

#33 - Go to a minimum 3 Sens games per year : I was worried that my first year of this vow would be a failure. Usually I get to at least three games per season, but due to a lacklustre year for the Sens, I haven't been all that interested in attending games. A few weeks ago, I realized I needed to take in one more game live to get my three games in for the year, so I floated the idea to a few family members that we should go to one more game before the year was over. Needless to say, they weren't exactly clamouring to fork over cash to go see a team that we've known wouldn't make the playoffs for months.

Thank goodness for my bro-in-law's 12-game pack. Because of it, my sister had laid claim to Saturday night's tickets, for the Tampa Bay game, and she invited me along. We had a great night, despite the fact that I chipped my tooth on a piece of nice, soft, not-even-close-to-tough pizza (seriously, who does that?!?), and I accidentally walked into the men's washroom (after seeing the row of urinals, I shouted, "Oh my God, I'm in the mens' washroom!", turned around and saw the guy behind me grinning and he said, "Yeah you are!").

Through the first two and a half periods, it was sort of a boring game, with nothing to cheer about as Tampa were the only ones getting on the scoreboard, notching 2 goals. But then the momentum swung in our favour, as the Sens scored two in the final ten minutes to tie things up, and then Jason Spezza potted the OT winner for a happy ending at the Bank!

Even though the Sens' playoff hopes died long ago, and most fans have actually been rooting for them to lose lately in hopes of staying in the NHL basement and increasing their chances of getting the top draft pick this year, I must say the atmosphere was great the other night. I expected attendence to be much lower than it was (managed to get 18,800 +!) The fans were pumped and cheered heartily all night long. They even had the wave going at one point. Most left quite happy at the end of night - except for the little Tampa Bay fan behind us who had been gloating for most of the game, laughing at his Sens fans parents. After the Sens came back to win in OT and we were jumping and cheering, we turned around to grab our coats on the way out and discovered him sobbing in his seat. Poor little guy!!

#69 - Donate to a food bank : Not sure why I didn't check this one off earlier, but I definitely gave a food donation at our White Gift service at church this past December, and all the food collected goes to a local food bank.

#70 - Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years: Again, I must have forgotten to blog about this one, because I wrote my letter on New Year's Day. It will be interesting to read what I wrote that morning, 10 years from now, on January 1, 2021...

#88 - Buy a laptop : I've always wanted one. On March 2, I finally bought one. I had just paid off my credit card, so of course I needed to load it right back up again. ;) I purchased my wonderful black Toshiba Satellite on the Best Buy website, after asking my brother a million questions about laptops (and got helpful answers like, "They can be black or silver or other colours, they come with chords and fancy battery packs, they range in size from 15" to 19" depending on how much you want to spend, hope this helps!!!) I now have all of my music and pictures transferred off my work computer onto it, and I love it! Having a computer at my side at all times will hopefully help me get back to writing, which I haven't done much of lately, other than blogging!

Slowly whittling away at the list...Now that spring has sprung, I will hopefully get back into the 101 swing of things!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Movies to Check Off for #30

I haven't been accomplishing much on my 101 List since Cuba. I got so much knocked off in one week that I sort of took a 101 break when I got home.

But the one thing I never take much of a break from? Watching movies.
So I have a my J & P movies to cross off for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet.

The "J" movie is embarrassing. But if you follow me over at Jill's World, you already know that I've been afflicted by Bieber Fever. I swore this would never happen to me, but I've fallen victim to the Bieb's charm. You can read about my sad decline into the ramblings of a 14-year-old girl here. And here. And here.

So yes, I saw the Bieber movie in theatres. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D. And yes, I know how pathetic that sounds, coming from an old lady like me. But just for the record, my twenty-something friend Lindsay came too. I'm not alone in this Old Lady Justin Bieber Fan Club. (Sorry for calling you an old lady, Linds. You know what I mean.)

And also for the record? It's really good. Call him a floopy-haired little fruit if you want, but I swear, if you see the movie, you'd give the kid a little more respect. It's because of the movie that I've become a Bieber fan. His story is truly remarkable, and say what you will, the boy's got talent.

Okay. Enough. I've been pimpin' the Biebs out on my blogs too much lately. I know this. I'll stop now.

As for my "P" movie, you can also head to my other blog and read all about my afternoon date with Paranormal Activity 2 here. Any movie that has a baby being stalked by an invisible demon is not cool with me. Wasn't as scary as the first, but still gave me the shivers.

The sequel is actually more of a prequel to the original, in which happy couple Micah and Katie are torn apart by an evil entity that is haunting their home and eventually enters Katie's body and kills Micah. With this flick, we go back a few month's before Katie & Micah's horror story, and are introduced to Katie's sister Kristi and her family: husband Daniel, step-daughter Ali, and new baby Hunter. They begin experiencing similar paranormal activity that we originally saw with Katie & Micah. But this time, it's centreing around Baby Hunter.

Through security cameras stationed throughout their home, we are able to see Baby Hunter staring into space in the middle of the night while the family dog acts very strangely, and other odd occurrences take place: the baby's mobile moving, lights flickering, pots and pans falling off their hooks in the kitchen, the rocking chair moving on it's own, the creepy crawler in the pool jumping out by itself every night, the TV acting strangely, odd bumps and footsteps, and so on.
When Kristi asks Katie to help her remember what happened when odd paranormal activity happened to them as children, Katie orders her sister to stop talking about it, because she believes whatever is haunting them thrives on the attention, and will go away if ignored.

Oh, Katie. If only you knew...

So yeah. It's totally silly and the two stories don't entirely match up and I think this "prequel" sort of ruins the spooky magic of the original.

That being said, demons and evil entities freak me out, so yes, I am still sleeping with the hall light on at night.

But that's nothing new for me.