Friday, December 6, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 120613

Tuesday: Taco Stop for two: $17.31
Thursday: Buffalo Wild Wings for three: $34.09

Cost: $51.40
Total for the year: $1541.03

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baked Oatmeal Pudding with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

You know I like oatmeal, so an oatmeal pudding with cinnamon-sugar topping sounded just fantastic. With all the eggs and milk and raisins and oats, it sounded like it'd be a nice change for breakfast AND serve as dessert. That's a win, right?

Baked Oatmeal Pudding with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
from Cooking Club, Winter 2014
click to print

4 c water
2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c raisins
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
2 c low-fat milk (2%)
4 eggs
2/3 c pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar
2 c heavy whipping cream, if desired

Bring water, oats, raisins and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

I didn't actually let the oats come to a boil. Once a simmer was reached, it was maintained.

Reduce heat to low; simmer 6 to 10 minutes or until oatmeal mixture is thickened and soft, stirring frequently.

Even without coming to a boil earlier, my oats were thick after 6 minutes.

Remove from heat; let stand until lukewarm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in milk until blended.

Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Stir in maple syrup and vanilla.

Coat 13x9-inch (3-quart) shallow glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Add oatmeal mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Mine went into the refrigerator and came out 47 hours later.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Combine sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in small cup.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over top of oatmeal mixture.

Bake, uncovered, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until oatmeal mixture is set, edges are golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out moist but clean.

One hour and 19 minutes and mine was done. Maybe sprinkling the cinnamon-sugar directly against the edges of the dish would prevent it from migrating like the sheets on my bed as I sleep.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with cream, if desired.

The pudding was okay, but man, it was so wet. I couldn't get past the wetness, it was so much like eating a slice of wet bread. It's possible that was due to the extra 23 hours mine sat in the refrigerator. I think I used whole milk but you'd think that would make it thicker and less wet; still though, it's another variable. Regardless, I'm not a fan of this one, though it was easy to put together. Maybe one day I'll cut the recipe in half and execute the entire thing in one day and find out what's what for real.

  • old-fashioned oats: $0.47
  • raisins: $0.82
  • milk: $0.50
  • eggs: $1.90
  • maple syrup: $2.64
  • vanilla extract: $0.08
  • sugar: $0.06
Total: $6.47 or about $0.81 for each of 8 giant servings

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower

Baked pasta sounded good, sort of like lasagna but slightly easier. I'll admit it, lasagna looks a lot prettier when it's plated. The rigatoni looks like heart valves, which isn't exactly appetizing. If you can get past that, you'll find this pasta dish actually tastes pretty good. I really like the cauliflower and had a hard time stopping myself from eating all of it before it went into the dish.

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower
from Cooking Club
click to print

4 c cauliflower florets (1 inch) (1 medium head)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. rigatoni (tube-shaped pasta)
4 c slightly packed spinach, coarsely chopped
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 (28-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c shredded Romano cheese (4 oz.)
2 c finely shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)

Heat oven to 425ºF.

Toss cauliflower and oil in large bowl to coat; place on large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350ºF.

This cauliflower is delicious - make extra to snack on.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; cool under running water. Drain well. Place in large bowl; toss with spinach.
Tossing the drained pasta with the spinach just meant the heavy pasta tended to settle to the bottom of the bowl while the fluffy spinach gradually migrated to the top.

Heat large deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Crumble sausage into skillet; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Add rosemary and garlic; cook over medium heat 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly.

After 5 minutes, the sausage is nearly completely browned.

Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as necessary.

My sauce was only slightly reduced after 30 minutes; I made the mistake of reducing the heat to a simmer once it reached boiling.

Coat 13x9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon in enough of the tomato sauce mixture to lightly coat bottom of dish.

Layer with half each of the pasta, cauliflower, tomato sauce and Romano cheese.

Sprinkle with generous 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layers, ending with remaining mozzarella cheese. (Rigatoni can be made to this point 12 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Uncover; adding an extra 5 to 10 minutes to baking time.)

Bake at 350ºF. 40 to 45 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Remove from oven; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Having forgotten that the spinach would leak moisture as the dish baked, I really wish I'd reduced my sauce further. You can see in the plated image that it was watery. If you try this, be sure to boil the sauce for 15 minutes and avoid the tendency to to reduce the heat once it reached a boil like I did. With all that extra moisture, the rigatoni on the bottom of the dish was quite flaccid. The texture of the rigatoni on top was certainly the opposite; some of them poking out of the sauce and cheese were crunchy. I kind of liked it.

I'm not sure what the point is of combining the rigatoni and spinach in a bowl. As said above, the heavy rigatoni sort of rolled to the bottom of the bowl while the fluffy spinach floated to the top. Otherwise, prep made sense, the dish came out to be tasty; the cauliflower alone is reason to do it again. For all the time and cost though, you may as well do lasagna!

  • cauliflower: $4.83
  • extra-virgin olive oil: $0.09
  • rigatoni: $2
  • spinach: $1.69
  • Italian sausage: $3.99
  • fresh rosemary: $1
  • garlic: $0.15
  • diced tomatoes: $1.92
  • Romano cheese: $3.59
  • mozzarella cheese: $2
Total: $21.26 or about $2.66 for each of 8 servings.

Grocery List, 120113

Having eaten scrambled eggs for Thanksgiving, I thought I would throw down some serious grub over the weekend and indulge. Instead my computer gave me the blue screen of death and then wouldn't boot up and turned into a whole bunch of fuck you.

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
Baked Oatmeal Pudding

  • yeast: $2.59
  • old-fashioned oats: $3.49
  • rigatoni: $2
  • vegetable oil: $2.59
  • Romano cheese: $4.49
  • whole milk: $1.99/ half-gallon
  • mozzarella: $3.99/lb
  • cauliflower: $4.83/2.70 lb
  • spinach: $1.69/bunch
  • ginger root: $0.48/0.16 lb
  • garlic: $0.50/bulb
  • steel-cut oats: $2.99
  • organic cage-free eggs: $3/dozen
  • Johnsonville sausage: $3.99/lb
Total: $38.62

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 112913

Monday: Teddy's Deli on a coworker
Tuesday: Bravo Burgers for two: $20.12
Wednesday: McDonald's? Whatever it was, it was $4.53
Thursday: Thanksgiving!
Friday: holiday

Total: $24.65
Total for the year: $1489.63

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

Pumpkin rice pudding? It sounds kind of good and kind of sick at the same time. I like rice pudding quite a bit so it's good enough reason as any to try it.

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
adapted from Cooking Club
click to print

15-oz. pumpkin puree
1 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 c cooked medium-grain rice
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F.

Whisk pumpkin, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves in large bowl.

Stir in evaporated milk and eggs.

Stir in rice, raisins and 1/2 cup pecans.

Pour into 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Place in shallow roasting or broiler pan. Add enough water to come about 1 inch up sides of baking dish.

Bake 15 minutes; stir well. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

The back portion of the pudding is not really that dark - it's an artifact of lighting. The stab wounds in the pudding is indicative of how many times I checked it for done-ness.

Cool 20 minutes. Store in refrigerator.

Originally planning to bring this to work, the licks taken from the knives used to check for done-ness convinced me to keep it at home to I could continue taste-testing the entire dish. There is a whipped topping that was part of the original recipe, but I chose to skip it. I didn't think this rice pudding needed whipped cream and additional nuts.

  • sugar: $0.96
  • evaporated milk: $0.88
  • eggs: $0.95
  • rice: $0.80
  • raisins: $0.82
  • pecans: free from Mom
Total: $4.41 or about $0.37 for each of 12 servings