Easter Pasta Pie

Don’t let the holiday-ish name of this pie fool you….. this can (and should!) be made throughout the year.

And in my opinion, as often as possible.

Because pasta = happiness :)

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Easter Pasta Pie – adapted from epicurious

olive oil
1 small onion, minced
8 ounces baby peas
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, any type, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs, toasted
7 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose
3 cups milk, warmed
1 pound tagliolini, or other fresh thin egg noodles
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces burrata or mozzarella cheese, diced

In a small sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and a few tablespoons of water, and cook until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside in a bowl.In the same pan, heat 2 more tablespoons oil over high heat. Cook the mushrooms and garlic for a minute or two, until tender. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 9-inch nonstick springform pan and dust it with breadcrumbs.In another small pot, make béchamel: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, stir in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until smooth. Add the milk and bring it to a boil, stirring until thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Boil the pasta in salted water for 3 minutes less than the package directs. Drain and toss with the stock.

Layer the bottom of the prepared baking pan with one third of the pasta. Dot with one third of the béchamel, sprinkle it with 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons Parmesan, scatter on all of the pea mixture, then scatter on one third of the diced cheese. Spread out a second level layer of pasta, dot with one third of the béchamel, sprinkle with 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons Parmesan, and scatter on all the mushrooms, ham, and remaining diced cheese. Top with the remaining pasta and any unabsorbed remaining stock, pressing down to compact the layers. Dot the top with the remaining béchamel, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and remaining butter, very thinly sliced.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the pie is set and golden. Let it rest until it comes to room temperature before slicing.

Banana Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Well, we made it…… and it’s hard to believe we’ve been here for almost two weeks!

Time sure does fly….

When I think back to the previous 12 days, I realize so much has happened, so much has changed, and everyone (me included!) is happier than ever.

Doing a bit of reflection, I realized that I met my first Texas tarantula, encountered my very first bull frog (maybe he was just a regular frog, we really weren’t formally introduced), was welcomed into the neighborhood with Texas-style hospitality (who can resist a loaf of fresh baked banana bread?), and we have settled nicely into our temporary digs (ah the joys of a smaller home). Also, the humidity is doing wonders for my skin, the puppies are happy with the real grass in the backyard, and the kids love their new school. They even rode the school bus home the other day. For the first time ever.

Seriously.

I’m pleased to report that, in their words, “It wasn’t bad at all”.

Nice.

We have started the process of clearing the land for the ranch, and in the process, Alexander is learning the value of “sweat equity”, and that there is, in fact, more to life than the PS3.

I have been cooking a tremendous amount lately, although not taking any pictures has really thrown me off. I’ll get to work on that, I promise. So many of the recipes I’ve tried are keepers and I want to make sure I don’t forget them.

Enough prattling on for now, I’ve got to get dinner going and make sure the kids are actually doing their homework as opposed to simply telling me that they are.

Because I have a sneaking suspicion they are watching TV on their Ipads, since none of the regular TV’s are hooked up yet.

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Banana Zucchini Oatmeal Bread – adapted from I am baker

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas mashed
3 cups shredded zucchini

Heat oven to 350 and spray a 9″ loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and oats. In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, banana and zucchini. Pour sugar mixture into flour mixture and blend together. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan and a tester comes clean from the center.

The trouble of being spatially challenged

Have you ever stood and watched someone struggle for a good 20 minutes while attempting to put something together? And wishing you could step in because the solution is so apparent to you, and you KNOW they just.don’t.get.it.

Well……. let’s put it out there. I’m that person.

My problem is that I am spatially challenged. I have trouble fitting the puzzle pieces together, so to speak. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to put the dish pack moving kit together last night.

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Fortunately, Alexander stepped in before I became hostile with a cardboard box.

It was getting extreme at that point....

Anyway, he put it together in the nick of time and saved the day. Which is great, because now all the dishes and glassware are packed up.

However, that also means we eat on paper plates for the next 5 nights…….

Ooooops.

 

Thoughts and Randomness

Now that I have  80 75 60% of the move under control, I feel like I can actually sit back and enjoy all these great changes occurring right now, instead of feeling constant, intense pressure to make sure everything is accounted for and planned out.

And maybe, just maybe, I will stop waking up at 2:45 every morning to write down things that I need to do.

It’s getting a little tiring.

Literally and figuratively.

Anyway, I had a funny dialogue with Alexander last night. We were sitting on the patio having our dinner, and of course conversation turned to the ranch house. He made a comment about not wanting to use his PS3 (that machine is a sore spot with me anyway, I wish it would get lost in the move) once we get to Austin, because, in his words, “I’m going to be too busy with the dirt bike and making new friends to want to sit inside all the time”.

Thank god……

I’ll tell you something else, Daisy has been very agitated with all the packing and boxes and chaos going on around the house. She has practically hot-glued herself to me, making sure I don’t get too far from her sight. I tripped over her coming out of my closet yesterday (no, not coming out that way, I was putting away clean clothes…), and again in the kitchen while making dinner. She jumped up on my chair when we sat down to eat so I seized the opportunity to take a selfie:

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She was not amused……