Actively trying not to take life too seriously.

Half-Baked Ziti!

Hello!

Did you know that Penne is the plural form of the Italian word penna, deriving from Latin penna meaning “feather” or “quill”? AND that it’s also a cognate of the English word pen? Now you do!

Also, Did you know that today is Tuesday? I spent the entire day yesterday thinking that it, in fact, was Tuesday. It wasn’t. This is a tragic mistake that resulted in me being terribly sad when I realized that I still have a whole other Tuesday to go through before the weekend. However, my dinner yesterday (and lunch today, yay!) was a pretty good consolation.

Let’s talk about this delicious new discovery: Half-baked Ziti. This could also be called Poor Man’s Ziti, because that’s what it is (I am poor and it is mine. Although, I am a woman). Now, just for facts sake I should tell you that Baked Ziti is traditionally made with Ziti pasta, which is a type of Penne that is different in some way from all the other types of Penne.  I’m sure if I were Italian I could tell you, but I am not. So, this recipe will call for Penne because it’s easier to find in the store and it’s what I had when my genius idea struck last night.

It’s super easy and made enough food to feed one person dinner for five days. I mean, as long as they aren’t a giant or Michael Phelps or someone like that (Is he considered a giant? He should be). Anyway, if this is the case, no promises on how long it will last you. But! I CAN promise it’ll be delicious. I can pinky promise. And that, my friends, is some serious promising.

What You Need:
1 box of any-brand penne pasta
1 jar of spaghetti sauce*
Chicken
Shredded Mozzarella OR
Provalone OR
(if you’re fancy) Ricotta cheese

What You Do:
Before:
Cut up your chicken (amount is at your discretion but you don’t need a ton, you are not a giant OR Michael Phelps, I’m willing to bet) into little cubes and put in into a bowl with a little bit of olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
And: Pre-heat your oven to 400 F

Then…
1. Get a pot. Put water in it. Add a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil. Turn it to HIGH heat. Allow boiling to commence. I generally just fill up a pot and put the noodles in once it boils. If you’re the type of person who likes to measure out your pasta water I recommend consulting your box for specifics.
2. Right about the time your water starts to boil: get a frying pan. Put it on your stove and turn the heat up to 7 or so. Let said pan heat up. Then, add the chicken. Let fry, stirring occasionally to make sure your chicken is cooked through. It doesn’t need to be babysat. It was a full-grown chicken for crying out loud! Just make sure it doesn’t burn.
Note: The pasta should take about 11 minutes to cook if you like it al dente (a little hard). If you like your pasta a bit more tender, show it a little bit of love.  Just keep it hot for another minute or so. The chicken will cook pretty fast too, since it’s cut up into little bits. The idea is to get them to finish cooking at the same time, so that you’re life is made easier.
3. Once everything’s done cooking, get a casserole or baking dish that’s big enough to hold all of your noodles and chicken. Drain your shit (noodles) and put it in the dish. Take your cheese of choice and stir it in with the noodles, letting it get melty and wonderful and more Godly. Then add however much of the spaghetti sauce you’d like (The whole jar, please. If you’re me).  Mixy-mixy!  (If it’s easier and you don’t mind the dishes, just mix it all in a big bowl and then put it in the casserole dish. Personal preference prevails here.)
4. Pour the chicken over top of your dish and cover in a layer of your cheese of choice.
5. Put your delicious mess into your pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or enough time to let the cheese on top melt.
6. Pull your delicious, melty, cheesy mess out of the oven using oven mitts (CAUTION: The metal or glass pan coming out of your 400 degree oven will be HOT). And stuff yo face.  Carefully, I remind you that it’s hot. Molten cheese hot. Drop it like it’s hot hot.

After Face-Stuffing Commenced.

Unfortunately, we tore into it and commenced our face stuffing before I thought to take a decent picture, so this is it after 2 and a half servings are gone. You’ll notice there is still a whole lot.
Also, my camera cord is missing so awful quality is going to be the norm until it is found. It’s the saddest.

I know that it’s not traditional ziti, but it tasted like it! Let me know what you think, or if there’s anything you would change! I’m always looking to streamline.

*Note: While I am always an advocate of off-brands, I would recommend spending the $0.20 on a jar of brand spaghetti sauce.  Just saying. Ragu is $1.20. It’s TOTALLY worth it. Great-Value spaghetti sauce is another one of those things you just don’t want to mess with.
On a related note, Win-dixie brand has THE MOST DELICIOUS mozzarella cheese. I am not kidding. I was eating it with my fingers…

For now, Farewell fellow Earthlings.
Enjoy your pasta!

-H

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Hannah Banana Pudding!

Hello!

Did you know that the term “Going Bananas!” was originally coined because of their comic association with monkeys? Now you do!

Hopefully, like me, your week is off to a fantastic start. I got all moved out of my apartment yesterday and into my new place with some of my very best friends. Hooray!! Hopefully from here on out my roommate drama will be limited to who gets to drink the last sip of the wine and “Hannah, stop being so weird.”

If, unlike me, you have a case of the Mondays and your week is not off to a fabtabulous start: I’m terribly sorry. But I also have something that might make it better: Hannah Banana Pudding!
Honestly, there is nothing very special about Hannah Banana Pudding. Besides having my name in it and my name being a palindrome, it’s utterly normal. But! I will make a claim that Banana Pudding is the ULTIMATE college dessert. Why is that, you ask? Well…

Reasons Banana Pudding Is The Ultimate College Dessert:

1. It’s Cheap!
All you need are some bananas, pudding, and wafers.  The whole dessert comes to about $4! This might seem like a lot, butttt….

2. It Has A SUPER High Yield!
This is something I discovered yesterday when I accidentally made enough pudding to feed a third world army. Or an apartment full of intoxicated boys. (Which is surprisingly the same amount of food).

3. It’s Sort-of Good For You!
Since instant pudding is made entirely with milk, the pudding is a great source of Calcium. And since you put bananas in it, it’s a great source of potassium as well. I mean, it’s not boiled tofu or carrot sticks, but at least it has some redeeming qualities. (Besides being awesome-Mc-awesomeness from planet delicious.)

4. It’s SUPER easy!
The whole process literally takes 5 minutes.  As I was making it last night I decided that from here on out whenever I need to bring a dessert to anything it’s going to be banana pudding. So, for all you out there reading this who could potentially be a soccer mom with me in the future, write yourself a note now. Back off. Banana pudding is mine.
For more information on how easy it is, keep reading!

Hannah Banana Pudding

You Need:
INSTANT Banana pudding (NOT cook and serve, trust me)
Milk
Bananas
Vanilla Wafers/Vanilla Cookies

What You Do:
1. 
Follow the directions on the back of the box for the banana pudding. If you followed directions and got instant pudding then it should be something like, “Add milk. Stir.”
2. Take a casserole dish or a glass mixing bowl or a food-holding-item, and line the bottom with the vanilla cookies. My family uses wafers because that’s what normal people do. Then dice up the bananas and put a layer of those too.
3. Pour in your pudding that will have set in the 3 minutes it took you to do the above step.
Done!

Now, I know this recipe isn’t ground breaking or anything. Add some whipped cream or cinnamon if it suits you! Try new things! For the record, I used 1 big box of pudding and it made like, a GAZILLION cups of it, so just be aware.

That’s all folks. Go off into the world armed with this new knowledge.
And let me know how your banana bonanza goes!

I hope you found this post aPEELing!

-H

The Great Grocery Gatsby!

Hello!

Did you know that a the definition of “Gatsby” is a South African sandwich that resembles an American hoagie? Now you do!

As the title suggests, I went GROCERY SHOPPING. Why is this so exciting you ask? What makes this so special? Well, for starters I had NO food. Literally. The reason it’s taken me so long to post again is my lack of food-related things to say or food-related things to cook.  I went out to eat. Twice. (Faancy huh?) Hoorah! But now there is food and advice to be had! Things for Gatsbys (Gatsbies?) to be made with! Rejoice!

As I meandered down the isles yesterday, I payed special attention to the rules and tried my very hardest to follow them. I even put back my greek yogurt that was name brand in order to be more honest with you guys. (For that, I thank you. I actually HATE yogurt and was just buying it to feel healthy. I’ll eat some celery and be happier instead.)  I wanted to be able to say, “Buy these things. Here is a visual. Love my advice! Love my blog!” Fortunately, I did manage to stick to the rules and can (in good conscience) beg all of those things.
Said visual:

Behold!

As you can see, we buy A LOT of fruits and veggies. Look for things that are in season and snatch that shit up. Those strawberries were less than $2. You’ll notice my less-than-name-brand bulk chicken on the right. We decided on chicken thighs this time because they appear to be slightly less genetically modified than the breast.  But I mean, they don’t even have a label. Nothing. Chicken brand chicken. Must be natural, right?!
The point being: yayy! All of this cost about $5o and will last two people about two weeks. #winning?  *Note: You’ll notice that I splurged on Velveeta macaroni. This is because you just don’t mess with Great Value cheese sauce. You just don’t.

Not Pictured: Great Value Loaf of Bread. Unfortunately, it was too busty to fit into the shot. Don’t mention that I said anything to you, she’s very sensitive about the subject.

Anyway. Shop smart people! Buy these things! Love my advice! Love my blog!
And have a Happy Sunday.

-H

Yoglates. Supplemented by Black Bean Tortillas.

Happy Hump Day World!

Tonight, I went to my first Yoglates class in 9 days. This was good because I need to be going in order to reach my ultimate goal of being able to put both of my feet behind my head. (Kidding, mostly.) This was bad because I hadn’t been for 9 days and ate an early lunch and thought that I was going to pass out or vomit or just keel over and die. (Yoglates (n): An expensive combination of yoga and pilates in a heated room that basically makes you want to die).  However, the workout is done and I can proudly type that did not, in fact, pass out, vomit OR die. Yay!
Naturally, by the time I got home I was starving and queasy from trying to stand on one foot and “find my life balance” and simultaneously do leg lifts while remembering to suck in my stomach and breathe. (It’s really not that bad, I’m just awful at it.) Cadron was nice enough to whip up a quick and easy dinner that is a perfect testament to my rules: Black Bean Tortillas. (See: Nomz.)

What You Need:

Black Beans.
Tortillas.
Onions.
Honestly whatever vegetables you like.
Sriracha (optional)

What You Do:
Now, what you’ll find over the course of my recipes is that I don’t like to use tons of measurements because nobody has time for that shit.
Cooking the black beans:
Raw:
 These little suckers need to be soaked all day before they can be cooked. Which is annoying. However all you have to do it put them in a bowl of water and let them sit for about 8 hours while you’re at class/work/clown school. Then cook them at a medium heat for about an hour/hour and a half. They should be tender, but not too sensitive. (But really, they should be tender.)
Canned: If you bought canned beans then you and I are on the same page. Heat them up in a pot on the stove. Don’t burn them by not turning the heat up too hot. 5 or 6 is probably fine. Just stir every so often. The end.
What’s Next?
Great question.  After you’re done cooking your beans, smoosh those suckers. It should be the consistency of crunchy peanut butter, but not crunchy. Tender. Smear said bean paste onto a small-size, soft tortilla.
All you do now is cook the veggies if you want to, or put them on raw if that’s your preference.  Sriracha it up! Add some cheese! Add some cumin! But not too much because that shit is POTENT. Add some cilantro! (In this case parsely would not be appropriate because it’s mexican food. Sorry I guess). Go wild!

Nom. Nom.

(I did not in fact, go wild. These just have some onions, beans, and sriracha of course. But you totally can! The world is your oyster!)

See? Easy as pie.  Which is an expression I never understood because pie is actually really freaking hard to make. Also, it just goes to show you what having some beans, veggies, and cheese around will do for you. (i.e.: A delicious and easy dinner.) The tortillas are not on my list of things that you need for survival, but the pack of 20 was $1.20 at Wally World today!

Happy Doing BEANSnuss With You! (no?)

-H

Chickens Inspired by Chickens.

Tyler Oakley is one of my favorite internet personalities. He has nothing to do with cooking, but I would like to share this particular video with as many people as possible.

Drunk: What you THINK is happening vs. What is ACTUALLY happening

Cheese being God.

Cheese being God.

This is me enjoying my cheese. I lied about it being expensive. It’s Great Value (Rule #3). It is still delicious.