Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! Or "Hump Day" as some call it. I prefer Happy "Middle-of-the-Week" Day.

So, I've been cooking a lot more lately. Ryan used to do 80% of the cooking, if not more, but now that he is working later than I am, I am doing the majority of the cooking...and getting better at it as I go! (This makes Ryan really, really happy, by the way. I think he doubted my cooking skills.) Along the way, I've gotten a lot of recipes from friends and family. My friend Carie and I do a lot of recipe exchanging. This Recipe of the Week came from her, via The Biggest Loser cookbook, and you know me, I had to tweak it a little. ;) I probably added back in some the calories The Biggest Loser peeps took out, but I have to make it so that Ryan will eat it!

Baked Ziti

1 (14 1/2 oz) box fiber-enriched ziti or penne rigate
1 15 oz container fat free ricotta cheese
2 Large egg whites
8 Ounce (4 cups) finely shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 jar of low-fat, marinara (I used Classico's regular marinara)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly mist a 13x9x2 ceramic or glass baking dish with the non-stick spray. Cook the ziti according to package directions until al dente. Drain and shake off any extra water. In a large mixing bowl, mix the ricotta, egg whites, and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Add the garlic powder and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the cooked pasta until well combined.

Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared dish. Add the pasta mixture and spread to evenly cover the dish. Top with remaining sauce then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan over the top. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer, or until the mozzarella is melted. Let stand 5 minutes.

It was SO super easy, and really tasty! It's definitely a winner.

Today's Random Ramblings from Rachel is an open letter brought to you in part by Rachel's Rules of the Road:
Dear Fellow Drivers,

I want to talk to you today about the LEFT LANE. It seems many of you have forgotten what we learned in Driver's Ed and The School of Life.
Here is a break-down of a few "unspoken" rules of the road:
Let's start with an easy one. If you are getting into the left lane to pass someone, don't cut off the person who is already in the left lane, forcing them to slam on their breaks. Wait until said left lane driver passes (cause they are going faster than you), then get over.
Next, if you chose the drive in the left lane, especially during rush hour traffic, please do not fluctuate your speed like a maniac. I use cruise control to maintain pace. When you are in front of me, it impedes my peaceful drive when you are going from 60 to 70 and every speed in between every few minutes.
Part two of the fluctuating speeds situation is when you are behind me. Because I use cruise control, I know what speed I am traveling at all times. When you get on my tail, then drop way back, then get back on my tail, I become confused. In an attempt to be a courteous driver, I move to the next lane in order to let you pass, and then you drop way back again. Please make up your mind. Are you going faster than I am, or are you just trying to give me road rage?
Lastly, the left lane is for passing. If you are driving under, or right at the speed limit, chances are you should pick a different lane. It's clear I am going faster than you. If you absolutely refuse to move over, I will pass you from the middle lane. Giving me the finger makes YOU the (slow) jerk. Not me. I'm following the rules. Perhaps you should to.

Your Fellow Driver

**Note from the Editor (also known Some people seem to be offended by my open letter. An open letter's purpose it to express MY opinion. I am not stating law. Just my thoughts. 



Chelsea said...

Rachel, I love it!
My open comment:
The misuse of the left lane drives me to panic attacks, so I just stay away from it. If you use it as an excuse to go 90 on the highway, I am scared of you. The left lane, contrary to popular belief, is not the "fast lane." It is the passing lane. That might mean you have to go a little faster than someone else to pass them, but does not mean that you can disregard the speed limit altogether. Pardon me while I go 60 to 70 in the right or middle lane, and please don't get angry when I won't speed up just to accomodate the fact that you didn't leave on time to get wherever you're going.

Scared of your lack of concern when operating a large, fast hunk of metal,


Rachel said...

Dearest Chelsea & Richard,
Apparently, I did not communicate myself very well. I know the left lane is for passing. It was nicknamed the “fast lane” because generally those who are in the left lane are traveling faster, therefore passing everyone else. My problem is when people are going UNDER the speed limit *in the left lane*, and they just sit there. They are not passing anyone because everyone is going faster than they are. I do not ride the tails of those going below the speed limit in the right or middle lanes. I have NO problem with people who drive under the speed limit. And I do not drive 90 anywhere. I generally stay between 2-5 over, which is comfortable to me, but not endangering anyone. And I am punctual to a fault, so getting to where I am going on time is not the issue. I just like to drive. I also happen to know, as a licensed insurance agent, that just as many, sometimes more, accidents are caused by people driving too slow as by people who are driving too fast.

Ahhhhh, nothing like a healthy debate to get the blood moving. :)