How do I deal with a Hurricane? I cook.

Yup.

I have to be away from C and the babies in order to work these few days.  This *SUCKS*.

How am I dealing with the I’m-away-from-my-family feeling especially during a HURRICANE??

I’m cooking.

C is holding down the fort with the babies and I came into the city to be closer to work.  I brought with me some onions, garden fresh tomatoes and a big bag of fresh green beans.  I stopped at the market and bought a bag of salad, a box of pasta, some light cream and a $2 hunk of smoked gouda.

When I got home from work today I thought about taking a nap, thought about making a big pot of soup and curling up with a book as the wind howls away… and instead – there seems to always be an instead in my world, doesn’t there…. Instead I tossed some bouillon into a large pot of boiling water, added in the peeled onions and some random seasonings I grabbed from the pantry – did I mention I’m staying at my parent’s apartment?  I love raiding other people’s pantries.  I think it’s SUCH fun to see what people have in their cupboards.  Lucky for me, the pantry at the apartment is VERY well stocked – and even better, so is the wine fridge.  *clapping*

With a hunk of smoked gouda and a bottle of wine, I’m facing this hurricane down!

I roasted off some mushrooms I brought in with me, tossed them with some fresh lemon and roasted garlic oil.  Oh, and sprinkled with some salt.  Salt + oil + roasted veg = *sigh*

Some mushrooms, half a lemon, some olive oil…

Then I cleaned and roasted off the green beans, tossed with a little olive oil.

Pre-Roasted Goodness

*swoon*

Into the boiling water I threw half a box of Gemelli pasta.

In a small saucepan I attempted a roux – I took a clump of butter (about a Tablespoon) and allowed it to melt.  Then I added flour and then stirred it in.  Hrmm….Thought it looked a little runny still, so I added more flour. Then the whole mess clumped up and I got frustrated with my ineptitude.  I poured myself a glass of wine.  I also poured in the small size container (1/2 pint?) of light cream.  I turned the heat to very very low and let it be for a bit.  In the meantime I chopped the roasted mushrooms up, added them into a baking pan, threw in the drained pasta and the chopped garden tomatoes.  Back to the sauce mix – it started bubbling so I took it off the heat and shredded the hunk of Smoked Gouda into the ‘roux’.  I stirred it together to melt the gouda down.  It looked a little….I dunno…clumpy.  *sigh* I took another slug of wine and peeked into the fridge to see what I could add to thin it out in order to add it to the pasta…..  COTTAGE CHEESE!  I emptied the container of cottage cheese (THANKS MOM!) into the baking pan with the veg + Pasta.  I tossed it all together, added the Smoked Gouda mess and stirred and stirred til it all looked coated.  I tasted it and found it … lacking.  What to add, what to add…. AH HA!  It needs a topping!  RITZ CRACKERS!! (Thank you Dad!)  I crumbled a handful of ritz crackers on top of the pasta bake, shpritzed it with a little Pam and shoved the pan into a hot oven.  I finished my glass of wine while alternating between the Food Channel & The Weather Channel.  I’d originally set the timer for 30 minutes, but I didn’t think it smelled ready yet.  I went back to the TV and in another 15 minutes or so it smelled DIVINE.  *swoon*

Smoked Gouda just makes everything better

I heaped a pile of roasted green beans on my plate and then took a whole big scoopful of the Pasta Bake too.

Now THAT is good.

It’s better than I’d hoped it would be.  It’s….glorious.

Of course, that may be the wine talking.  *wink*

 

Smoked Gouda Pasta Bake and Roasted Green Beans by Me

Printable Recipe HERE

Ingredients:

2 8oz Pkgs Button Mushrooms, washed & trimmed

1/2 Fresh Lemon, sliced in chunks

1.5 Lb Green Beans, washed and trimmed

Olive Oil, about 2 teaspoon I think… More if you want it.

2-4 Bouillon Cubes (your choice – this is to flavor the pasta cooking water.  It’s totally unnecessary if you don’t feel like it/have it on hand)

2 small Onions

1/2 box Pasta (I used Gemelli)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1/3 Cup Flour

1 small container of Light Cream

Large hunk of Smoked Gouda (I have no idea how big it was… it cost less than $2, that’s all I remember)

Large container of Cottage Cheese

3 small Tomatoes

1/2 a tube of Ritz Crackers

1- Heat the Oven to 375ºF.

2- Lay out the mushrooms out on a baking sheet, shpritz with Pam, throw the lemon chunks onto the sheet. Into the oven she goes, for about 15 minutes.  Then flip them over and roast another 5 minutes.  Take out and set aside to cool.  Chop into large chunks.

3- Green Beans onto a baking sheet, tossed with olive oil, into the oven she goes…for 20 minutes, then shake the pan and roast for another 15-20 minutes.  If they look crunchy and delicious, take out of the oven.  If not – let them go a few minutes longer.  I usually sprinkle with salt when they’re hot outta the oven, as I find the salt sticks better.

4- Add pasta to the boiling water.  Toss in whatever spices tickle your fancy.  I think I added  oregano, garlic powder, pepper, soy sauce….  Whatever you feel like adding, why not?  What’s the worst that could happen?  It sucks?  Meh.  It’s just pasta water. Moving along.

5- Anyway, while the pasta is boiling away, melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and stir to make a roux.  When it turns brown it means the flour has cooked down, which means it won’t taste yucky.

6- Add the Light Cream and stir to combine.

7- Off heat add the cheese (I shredded the cheese to aid in melting) and stir to combine.

8- If it looks too … clumpy, add a container of cottage cheese (I used a medium sized light cottage cheese container that happened to be in the fridge).  Stir stir stir.

9- Chop the tomatoes, drain the pasta.

10- Mix everything together, except the green beans.  They’re too glorious to add to the bake.  So you’re adding the mushrooms, pasta, tomatoes and sauce together, stirring and laying it all out in a baking dish/casserole.

11- Using your hands, crumble 1/2 a tube of Ritz Crackers over the top of the Pasta Bake.  Shpritz with Pam.  Thwack into the oven it goes for 45min-1hour.  When you can smell it, it’s probably done.  I let mine go until it was nice and crunchy on top.

Seriously, this is GOOOOD.

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