Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!!!! Hopefully you’re enjoying a day of time spent with your loved ones, be they friends, family, or a special someone. In case you’re wondering why I’m posting on this most romantic of holidays, my dearest hubby is working, so we’re not celebrating until Thursday. In the meantime, that leaves me free to share with y’all a post filled with yummy foods, some things you can be on the lookout for, and a new series that I’m very excited to start.
Let’s start with the things you should be watching for. I’ve heard that on March 3, Auntie Anne’s is supposed to be having a free pretzel day. It sounds like you can get a free regular or cinnamon-sugar pretzel between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The other thing I wanted to tell you about was something delicious that my husband got me for Valentine’s Day (we already exchanged presents). He bought me a Red Velvet milk chocolate bar from World Market, and it is AMAZING!! It actually tastes like a red velvet cake and is really beyond yummy! I highly recommend you go get yourself one as an after holiday treat.
I have gotten to try some new recipes lately, and I should be trying a few more later this week that I can tell you about next time. This first one I’ve actually made several times, but it’s easy and delicious, so I wanted to be sure and share it with you. It’s a delicious recipe for baked ziti that I found many years ago (though I can’t find the original source). It’s quick and easy and really lends itself to customization.
Baked Ziti Sorrentino
4 c. tomato sauce (sometimes I use a flavored spaghetti sauce)
8 oz. ricotta
1 lb. cooked ziti
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1. In a large saucepan, bring tomato sauce to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. Add ricotta and ziti to sauce. Mix well and simmer until thoroughly heated through.
3. Spoon pasta into a greased 9×13 dish and top with the mozzarella and parmesan. Broil until the cheese is melted.
My husband and I really love this dish. Often, I’ll add crumbled and browned ground beef to the sauce to make it a little heartier. What’s really great is that everything can be prepped ahead of time, and then you can pop everything together for a quick and easy delicious dinner with all the flavors of lasagna. This would also be especially tasty with a homemade tomato sauce, preferably one that’s been lovingly passed down through several generations.
I also recently made a dessert that my husband has been waiting for patiently for quite some time. He calls it Yum-Yum Pudding, but I have other friends that call it Striped Delight. It’s not one of my favorite desserts because I’m not a huge fan of whipp-y things (though it’s not half bad after being frozen for a little bit), but my husband loves it as do many of our friends. This one is made with a sort of shortbread crust, but I’ve heard of others making it with an oreo or graham cracker crust, which I can’t imagine being anything less than tasty. I also think you could use different puddings with some delicious results.
Striped Delight (aka Yum-Yum Pudding)
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. cool whip
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
3 c. milk
1. Mix together the butter, flour, and pecans and press into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. Let cool.
2. Mix together the milk and pudding; let set. In a separate bowl, blend together the cream cheese, sugar, and cool whip. Spread the cream cheese mix on the cooled crust. Spread the pudding on top of the cream cheese layer.
3. If desired, top with more cool whip and sprinkle with sprinkles, pecans, etc.
Do you remember that Chicken Mulligatawny that I told you about a few weeks ago? I have been having it very often thanks to some welcome but unseasonably cold weather, and I can’t help but tell you again that it’s SO good. I did some tweaks this time around, so I wanted to update you on that. Since the originally recipe called for a spicy Madras curry, I added some cayenne for a warming heat. Now some people have expressed skepticism about having apples in a soup. If you’re wary of trying it with the apples, then use a less firm, sweeter apple like a Gala that won’t be too much of a presence in the soup. Also, I used corn tortillas this time, instead of the flour. The cooking method is the same, spray with Pam or olive oil, bake at 325 degrees for 8-12 min. (depending on desired crispness). I prefer the texture of the flour tortillas, but the corn has a nicer flavor and is a little healthier. If the weather’s as cold where you are as it is here, I can’t recommend this enough.
Now for the really fun part that I’ve been dying to tell you about: the new series I’m starting. I got to thinking last week that it’d be fun to share with you some of my favorite movies. For now we’ll focus on the romantic/romantic comedies, but maybe after a while we’ll tackle a different genre. I was talking to one of my best friends about it, and she had a great idea that will make this even better. After watching the movie, I’ll find or come up with a recipe that references the movie in some way. Since she didn’t give me this great idea until yesterday, I didn’t have one ready for today’s post. That however, did not faze me. I thought I’d share a snack that’s perfect for watching any movie: popcorn! My friends and I call this naughty popcorn, and it is seriously delicious.
4 squares white almond bark
1 bag popped microwave popcorn
1. Melt the bark in a microwave-safe bowl and mix with the popcorn. Spread apart on waxed paper to dry. You can also sprinkle it with any number of goodies while it’s still sticky. I would suggest nuts, sprinkles, coconut, or crushed up oreos. Let me know any yummy ideas that you can come up with.
If that one’s not your style, you could also try this super one that I tried nearly a year ago. The movie that I watched for this first post is a little older but definitely a good one. It’s called Blast from the Past and stars Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone. The basic premise is this. Adam (Brendan Fraser) has spent his whole life hidden in a fallout shelter with his parents. Something happens and he has to go out into the world to get supplies; he also hopes to find a wife. He comes across Eve (Alicia Silverstone) who helps him out when he’s in a bind. He convinces her to help him in his endeavors, and hilarity ensues. You can go here to watch a trailer. It does have a bit of language in it, but is otherwise really enjoyable. Some of the things I love about it are its fun 50’s soundtrack and the way it captured some of the 50’s sensibilities like politeness. My favorite scene would have to be the big swing dance scene in the club. And just to get you wondering a little more, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite lines: “I’m clairvoyant, butthead.”, “I have to go to the bathroom.”, and “You’re the psychic. Eve, the psychic pimp.” Hope this intrigues you; let me know what you think if you get to watch it.