Oven Brain Freeze…

Note to self:  contents in hot oven will be hot to the touch.  Durrrrrr… and ice is frigid!  Of course I’m not brilliant enough to follow that sage advice.  Cooking dinner tonight, I went and picked up the lid to the dutch oven that had been in the oven for 40 minutes, not once but twice!!  LAWS ALMIGHTY where’s my strait jacket!?  Thankfully, years of washing my hands 8000 times a day and neglecting to moisturize enough have given my hands a callousy, sand papery texture… totes comes in handy as built-in pot holders.  I don’t need no hot pads with these talented paddies… I tell you what!

I have to say, though, despite the idiocy, tonight’s dinner was my favorite in a long time.  I came across it haphazardly on Saturday when I was trying to think of meals for this week… happened to be flipping through Better Homes and Gardens and found a couple of recipes that I went to the store and bought ingredients for!  That’s what I’m talking about Garden people… keep that up!   The recipe, plus nutrition information is as follows:

Vegetable-Loaded Pasta Bake

  • 8 ounces dried whole wheat penne pasta (2 3/4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (1/2 medium head)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 12 ounces kale, stems removed, leaves torn (12 cups)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large Dutch oven cook pastFa according to package directions; add cauliflower during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain; rinse. Set aside.

2. In the same Dutch oven cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery; cook just until carrots are tender. Add kale; cook just until wilted. Stir in  pasta mixture, peas, and corn.

3. For cheese sauce, in a small saucepan melt butter; stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; add cheddar cheese. Cook and stir until melted. Stir sauce into pasta and vegetables. Transfer to a 2 1/2-quart casserole. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 5 minutes more.  Makes 6 servings.

Calories 365 Fat 13 Sodium 394 Fiber 7

I even went and separated them into 6 containers and stacked them in the refrigerator… got my next 5 meals all portioned out… that’s helpful when I portion the meals out in advance.  Then I’m not playing the sampling game… you know the one where you dish out a serving and then sample what’s left in the bowl with another 2 spoonfulls?  Quality idea, Sherlock!  Plus, it’s easier just to grab something out of the refrigerator and stick it in the microwave… Note to self:  contents just out of the microwave are hot to the touch!

Continuing on with my top 5 Christmas tunes (which are subject to change by the millisecond… or until Debbie Gibson makes a return), today’s song would be “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day.”  I’m a sucker for those bittersweet songs… the ones that tell a story and stab you in the heart one minute but then totally redeem themselves and uplift the next.  It’s like a roller coaster of emotion, which I’m always first in line for.  Ironically, I’ve never sung this song in public.  Not because I haven’t wanted to but because I have never found a decent accompaniment in my range.  Note to readers:  If you magically come across sheet music for this song in the low to lower voice range, you know my number!
My favorite version is sung by Karen Carpenter… she of the rich velvety vocals that make you want to sit on your bathroom rug and weep into a bucket.  Richard Carpenter… call me… I need your sheet music!!!

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men. 

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men. 

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Question of the Day:   Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?  What is it?
Meanwhile… this is where I found Lucy-Fur sleeping this morning… this after she managed to demolish the tassles on the end of Madre’s Christmas table runner… Luuuuccccyyyy… you got some ‘splainin to do! 


Filed under Calorizing, Christmas, Food

14 responses to “Oven Brain Freeze…

  1. cl2

    I’m so glad you like “I Heard the Bells!” It was one of my mother’s favorites. I may have said my daughter gave me Josh Groban’s CD just before my mother died and “Angels We Have Heard on High” reminds me of my mother. My mother also loved “White Christmas.” So–I hadn’t heard it in a while and I’m driving home from Colorado last Tuesday and I had Carpenters Christmas on (I played it so much years ago, that I don’t listen that much anymore–but you run out of music driving 8 hours)–and up pops “White Christmas.” My mom knew it my heart and she’d sit down and play it on the piano. I need to “learn it” again. I quit playing the piano when my kids were little–they are 26 now.

    Thanks for your blog of Christmas songs–even though I listen endlessly, it is so fun to hear what others have to say. My daughter loves “Siselle” who sang in one of the MTC’s broadcasts–and the best, the very, very best ever Christmas “album” is “Listen to the Joy” that was put out by Hallmark when my kids were little. You can’t get it in CD, but I have the album and we bought the cassette off of E-bay a few years back. Absolutely beautiful–and my very favorite.

    • Such good memories of your momma. Music is awesome that way… just listening to a song can bring up so many memories! I didn’t know you could play the piano too, Colleen. Pick that back up… definitely!

      THank you for the music recommendations. I always say you can never have too much music. I obviously do, but it doesn’t stop me from getting more! Carpenters will always be one of my favorite Christmas albums… no matter how many times I hear it, I always go back to that voice!

  2. cl2

    Changing my status–sometimes I get on to post a comment and my e-mail and name have disappeared and I have to repost them.

    Oh–and Listen to the Joy has the Vienna Boy’s Choir and I believe Placido Domingo or Pavarati (spelling). There are several albums on e-bay right now. I went there hoping they had made it into a CD by now, but, no. LOVE that music.

  3. Avster

    Hey, I like this song too! Keep it up, Whit!

    I wanted to read that note you edited out. :b

    • It’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!! 😛 The note was a love letter to lover boy… either that or it was work phone numbers and I’m sure they appreciated me editing it so stalkers **hinthint** won’t call them!

  4. Jarvis95

    omg, sleepy, confused kitty = adorable!!!

  5. Louisa a.k.a. ProudMomOfTwo

    Beautiful song – her voice is angelic.

    Oh that Lucy cat!! LOL With that sweet face…she can get away with most anything.

    Here is another one I really love by Faith Hill – “Where Are You Christmas”

    Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition? What is it?

    Oh I love Christmas…
    I plan for it all year long.
    The baking, Christmas music, decorating, reading the stories, taking the pictures, planning & making the big meal, wrapping the presents, and sending out Christmas cards. I just love it all really!!
    Will be bittersweet not having it at the farm with Mom & Dad wrapping us all in their love and dreams but we will have to just do our best here and make it our own now.
    Mom is coming to share in our Christmas and I think she will be delighted to see how many of their traditions have carried over.
    She arrives Friday –

    • I LOVE that Faith Hill song too! It’s beautiful and such a great message too! I saw Faith and Tim in concert years ago and always hoped she’d sing that song live… she didn’t! You are right about Lucy and her face. I could yell a lot more if it weren’t so cute!

      Bittersweet holiday this year. Make you some new memories/traditions and remember the old ones!

  6. Mmm… yummy looking recipe. Great song too!
    Oh, I would be more than happy to trade you some cookies, for some of your singing 🙂 I do love to bake, and it is always better for me when I can give some away instead of eating ALL OF IT!! 🙂

    • Haha… I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person who has the baking/eating all of the product disease! I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if I was actually a good baker like you!! Maybe I better stay mediocre in my baking skillz!

  7. jen

    Lucy is so cute! I have touched a hot Dutch oven lid before too so you’re not alone.

  8. Julie

    Sorry you burned yourself! Bummer… the problem is that we are used to lids being safe to touch, it’s like learning to drive on the left hand side while in Europe… it’s easy to make a mistake. 🙂

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