Since I’m home for Spring Break, all of the cooking duties have fallen on me this week. Normal people would probably be ticked about this, but I was more than happy to cook dinner all week. For one thing, I was home most of the week attempting to finish a large amount of English homework, so I needed something to distract me, besides a large variety of cereal boxes to graze from periodically.
I have a problem with cereal grazing. Any time I pass the pantry, there’s a 95% chance I’m going to grab a handful of cereal. Today’s victim was Lucky Charms, which is weird. Normally I go for the Mini Wheats, although since I’ve picked out all of the ones with a crapload of frosting, they just don’t seem as appealing anymore. Go figure.
Anyways, the other reason I was happy to cook was that my mom let me pick out the menu too, which meant I had a chance to experiment, to a certain extent.
It’s the simple things in life, people.
This week’s menu included: Chicken Tortilla Soup (delicious), Black Beans and Rice (nothing special, but it’s a home staple I haven’t had in FOREVER), Cajun Chicken Pasta (I’ll have to work on that one) and tonight we had Pizza Soup. Personally, I liked the Pizza Soup best and weirdly enough, it required the least effort. I ended up combining a recipe from this magazine called Healthy Cooking and a recipe from Tasty Kitchen. The end result was a filling, yet pretty healthy soup. I’d like to think that a few chopped lasanga noodles wouldn’t affect the nutrition count too much, but even if it did, oh well. The soup was tasty.
Anyways, this soup could easily double as a fancy spaghetti sauce if you cut down the water content and leave out the noodles. I’m glad I added in the zucchini – at first it seemed weird to put zucchini in Pizza Soup, but it added a nice green color and some much needed vegetable freshness. This soup is also really flexible – there’s a wide range of ingredients you could add in to it.
– 1 jar of pizza sauce
– 2 jars of water
– 1 package fresh mushrooms
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 large or two small zucchini, cut in half coins
– 1 lb. hot Italian pork sausage
– 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
– 2 tablespoons dried garlic
– 1 tablespoon oregano
– 1 tablespoon basil
– 2 cups pasta (ideally, I would have used spiral pasta)
Beforehand, saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter for about 7-8 minutes, or until they start to shrink and soften. Put the mushrooms into a large crockpot, then fully cook the sausage. Combine all of the ingredients (except the pasta) into the crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours (the soup thickens considerably during the cooking time, by the way). 30 minutes before eating, add in the pasta and cook on high until ready to serve. Or you could cook the pasta in a pot separately, but who wants another pot to wash? Also, I forgot to take a picture, but imagine a huge crockpot full of delicious, pizza-y goodness in soup form.
In other news, I discovered that the mysterious steel cut oats that I’ve been searching for have been hiding from me under an alias: Irish Oats.
Why am I so stupid? Anyways, I’ll finally get to buy some of those tomorrow…I’ve been missing them since trying that kind of oatmeal for the first time at the dining halls last year. And speaking of my love affair with oats, I made THE BEST bowl of oatmeal EVER this morning. Instead of cooking the oats in one cup water, I did half milk, half water, then threw a thinly sliced banana in, all before the water started boiling. I also added in my usual cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. The result was a much thicker, creamier oatmeal with a subtle hint of banana. To top it off, I added some melted peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.
I am a loser, therefore I rave about oatmeal. Goodnight.