Saturday, May 23, 2020

Zucchini Pizza Casserole in the Kitchen

Note: My sister called me a few seconds ago saying, "I thought you told me you posted today?"  I did, I responded.  No, I didn't.  I thought I had.  I wrote.  I just didn't post apparently.  Thank you to my sister for catching that.

Laraine e-mailed asking if it's possible to plan ahead with meals because "I just don't have the time to do everything at once -- meaning once I walk in the door from work and everybody's hungry right then."

Sure.  You can do that. 

I've got rice cooking in the rice cooker right now and the chicken defrosted for a late lunch.  (I actually asked my husband to take the chicken from the freezer and move it to the fridge when he got home yesterday because -- again -- I had a double yesterday.)  That's for a late lunch today.  I'm doing chicken and rice in the oven.  My husband opened up a salad bag yesterday as well and put it in the fridge in a covered salad bowl.  I peeled and then sliced some cucumbers for the salad and chopped some radishes as well. We'll have the salad with the chicken and rice.

Right now, I'm also getting tonight's dinner ready -- and it will likely be left overs for tomorrow as well.  I have some navy beans soaking in water.  I got home from work about 3:15 this morning (I was at the clinic and then moved to the hospital for my second shift -- this isn't for morning, this is because we're short staffed).  When I did, I put a bag of dried navy beans in water to soak.  I'll cook those for dinner.  (In about an hour, I'll start.)  I have an onion, garlic, flour, okra and tomato mixture in a dutch oven on a low heat allowing it to simmer.  It's my roux for the gumbo we're having tonight.  I'm using cooked shrimp and some summer sausage for the meat and we'll add it in about two hours.  I like the roux to really have a taste to it.  Any left overs from the gumbo will become shrimp and summer sausage cocktail for tomorrow.  That's why I never put the rice into my gumbo sauce, I always use the leftovers for shrimp cocktail. 

There used to be this huge bucket of ice cream at the stores.  There may still be.  But I used to buy the bucket all the time.  It was cheap and it was generic ice cream.  We had eight kids and they were thrilled to have ice cream -- no Nancy Pelosis in our house insisting on $20 ice cream.  My point is that on Saturdays, I would do a bit of cooking for the week ahead.  I would make my pasta sauce ahead of time and then put it in the freezer in an ice cream bucket (that no longer had ice cream and had been cleaned).  This bucket was plastic and a bucket with a plastic lid. 

I would do a pasta salad ahead of time, a lasagna ahead of time and they and the pasta sauce would go in the fridge. 

If you're okay freezing and then popping into the oven, you could do a meatloaf.  I did that sometimes.  I'd cook it on the weekend.  Let it cool and then cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze it. 

Here's a recipe that the point is your prepare it ahead:

  • 4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce
  • 1 medium green or sweet red pepper, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.
  • Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 13x9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add green pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.
  • Freeze option: Cool baked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap casserole; reheat on a lower oven rack until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Italian sausage or ground turkey sub well in this casserole.
  • Make it vegetarian by skipping the meat and increasing the veggies. Mushrooms or finely chopped cauliflower (or a combination of the two) taste great.
  • This packs up nicely for weekday lunches.

  • As I've noted repeatedly, we are not all in this together.  When you hear that garbage grasp that it's just a p.r. slogan to keep people from rioting in the streets and lull them into a false sense of security.  They should be in the streets.  We The People are being ripped off during the pandemic.  Niles Niemuth (WSWS) reports:

    The coronavirus pandemic continues to exact a devastating toll on the American population. The death toll will surpass 100,000 over the weekend, with nearly 1,300 new deaths recorded yesterday. At the same time, mass unemployment is at levels not seen since the Great Depression, with 40 million filing for unemployment benefits since March.
    US billionaires, however, are doing fabulously well. The Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness reported Thursday that since mid-March, America’s billionaires have added $434 billion to their net worth. Collectively, the richest 630 Americans now control $3.4 trillion in wealth, a 15 percent increase in two months.
    “The top five U.S. billionaires—Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison—saw their wealth grow by a total of $75.5 billion, or 19%,” the report states. “Together they captured 21% of the total wealth growth of all 600-plus billionaires in the last two months. The fortunes of [Amazon CEO] Bezos and [Facebook CEO] Zuckerberg together grew by nearly $60 billion, or 14% of the $434 billion total.”
    This rise has been fueled by the implementation of unlimited “quantitative easing” by the Federal Reserve, which is pumping $80 billion a day into the stock market and the trillion-dollar CARES Act bailout passed unanimously by the Democrats and Republicans in Congress. The Fed now holds $7 trillion in assets on its balance sheet, and the stock market has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

    While the oligarchs receive unlimited handouts, the broad mass of the population confronts an earthquake that has triggered a tsunami of social devastation. The official jobless figure of 40 million vastly understates the level of unemployment. Millions of people are either ineligible for unemployment benefits or have still been unable to get through overwhelmed state systems.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

    Friday, May 22, 2020.  No attack is too far when the press wants to discredit a woman's voice and corruption continues in Iraq.

    Let's start with Ely Kreimendahl's hilarious parody of Women for Biden:

    Let's note Pig Boy Michael Tracey who loves to attack women (especially women of color -- Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, etc -- there's a reason Margaret Kimberley's rebuked him online).

    Antioch University emphatically denies that Tara Reade ever received a degree. Unless they're lying for some bizarre reason, Tara Reade falsified her credentials in court. Again, congratulations to everyone who promoted this complete fiasco of a story

    If true, what does that have to do with her allegation of assault?

    More to the point -- who the hell cares?

    They are throwing everything they can at her.  Have you had a problem with a landlord?  Guess what -- not a crime.

    Have women ever lied about the academic history?  Yes.  It is not uncommon (or for men too).  It is so not uncommon that it was a story for Mary Richards.  Yes, on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, Mary reveals to Lou that she didn't actually graduate college as she had stated in her long ago job interview.

    I didn't believe Christine Blasey Ford and I still don't.  Find anything here where I ripped her apart.  You won't.  First off, I could be wrong.  Second off, I'm not going to rip her apart for this or that event in her life that has nothing to do with her assault charge.  I'm not interested in shaming or silencing women who say they were assaulted.  Blasey Ford may be telling the truth, she may not.  But I'm not going to rip her life apart to try to pretend that proves a point about whether she was assaulted or not.

    It proves nothing.

    Nothing is what Asama Khalid offered on NPR yesterday.  That includes her justification for Joe Biden supporting the Hyde Amendment.  She insists that Joe has evolved and "the Democratic Party has evolved on it."  As Li Zhou (VOX) noted last June "until a few weeks ago , former Vice President Joe Biden was a staunch supporter of the Hyde Amendment."

    Asama felt it was important to note that PBS spoke to 74 people who worked for Joe Biden but with Tara's corroborating witnesses, "these are people, I should point out, that we were connected with through Tara herself."  As Ava and I noted Sunday in "Media: Lies and liars all around," PBS spoke to 74 employees the Biden campaign steered them to -- that's written in the actual report.  That would be the report everyone keeps mentioning but fails to have actually read it.

    Failing is all Asama has done on NPR with this story from day one.

    The NPR segment offered a Patty in a soundbye insisting "we would have heard about it during the vetting" and demanding "Give me a break!"

    Rebecca Traister, who was one of the panelists, rightly noted that the country has evolved on this issue since 2008.  More to the point, Barack's vetting?  He let one of his daughters intern for Harvey Weinstein.  Are we really trusting Barack's vetting?

    Democrat Hannah James is running for Congress out of California's 19th district and she Tweets:

    , Why did you sexually assault Tara Reade? #AskBidenAnything

    Here's another question: When is Joe going to be vetted?  These attacks have been organized by his campaign and yet he's repeatedly allowed to go on camera stating Tara has every right to tell her story and act as though he's not doing anything.  He is running a campaign to trash and destroy her.  When will the media get real about this?

    Probably never.  Ever.

    When do Joe's actions in public impact the way this story is covered?  When is he ever asked why did you say you apologized and days later make jokes about consent when you appeared before a largely male audience?  How is that funny?  How does that make it appear you took the complaints from women seriously?

    When is he asked about his many lies about Anita Hill?  That goes to Tara's assault charge.  Joe has lied about Anita repeatedly.  He has lied that he supported her.  He then went to Republican senators and told them Anita was lying.  When is he going to get honest about that?  How many Republican senators have to talk about that before the media asks him?  He has a long history of dismissing assault and harassment.  That goes to this issue.

    The Iraq War?  It doesn't.  His past lying about everything else?  It really doesn't have to do with Tara.  But if the media wants to dig through a citizen's life, they damn well should be digging through a public servant's life -- a public servant who somehow ends up with millions and millions of dollars.  No, that's not how public service is supposed to work.

    On Iraq . . .

    Joe has spent 2019 and 2020 citing his being in charge of Iraq during Barack's presidency.  So if he was responsible, when is he asked the tough questions?

    There are a ton of tough questions that need to be asked.  That interview has many lies in it.

    Even to the idiots, it should be obvious that the rise of ISIS -- which Joe is responsible for -- raises the issue of how US troops left.

    We were and are for all US troops out of Iraq.  We argued for that to take place immediately.  We argued that to Barack's transition team -- Ava and I did -- long before Barack was sworn in.  Our argument was: Pull all troops now and the reason is: This is what the American people voted for.

    Why does that matter?

    Iraq's government was and is propped up by US troops.  The US installed the government.  It is not popular with the people.  When US troops leave, the government most likely will topple.

    Good.  Let the Iraqi people determine the government that they want and need -- that is democracy.

    So pull out immediately and when asked you reply: This was the will of the American people.

    Fail to keep your promise of ten months and dicker around with Iraq and you own it.  It's no longer Bully Boy Bush's problem, it is your problem.

    And that's how it became Barack's problem.  He did not keep his campaign promise.  Samantha Power and Joe Biden and Susan Rice, among others, just knew they were smart to fix things.  They were idiots.

    And they made Bully Boy Bush's war into Barack's war.  If he had kept his promise, it wouldn't have happened.  But he didn't.

    Hassan Ali Ahmed (ARAB NEWS) reports this morning:

    After about two months of quiet due to pandemic concerns, Iraqi protesters returned to the streets soon after the formation of the new government.
    The protests that erupted last year in October resulted in Adil Abdul Mahdi’s resignation and withdrawal of the last two prime ministers. After the approval of Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government, the new prime minister announced plans to tackle corruption and address the protesters' demands.
    Baghdad, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Al-Muthanna, Babel, Al-Qadisiyyah and Karbala provinces have been rocked by protests since last week. There have been several clashes between the protesters and the security forces. On May. 18, four activists were arrested in Diwaniya, the capital of Al-Qadisiyyah. Security forces also attacked protesters at the Ahdab oil field in Wasit province, burning their tents and damaging their vehicles. On May. 19, security forces fired live ammunition at protesters in Diwaniya, killing at leat one and injuring many others.
    Protesters still complain about activists and paramedics being abducted. Prominent activist Haidar al-Lami was abducted on May. 18 when he was returning to Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Though those arrested and abducted were released by direct order from the prime minister, the protesters have not only reduced their activities but have stepped up the protests and raised their demands.
    As summer approaches, the protests are expanding in the southern provinces over a lack of electricity and clean water. Hundreds of protesters gathered May. 16 in front of the governor's office in Basra, which has suffered salinity problems for last few years.
    Iraq's government does not serve the Iraqi people.  The hope of US war mongers originally was the Iraqi people would be stunned -- shocked and awed -- into submission.  Naomi Klein wrote about that in "Baghdad Year Zero" which originally appeared in HARPER'S.

    That has long since changed.  They no longer want to shock into submission, they just want to keep the Iraqi government in place until the Iraqi people are too exhausted to argue or fight back.

    The US-installed Iraq government is corrupt and it does not serve the Iraqi people.  Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reports:                                                                     

    When 752 tons of wheat went missing from a state grain silo in Najaf this year, the site manager claimed it had been pilfered by flocks of hungry birds. Anti-graft officials aren’t convinced.

    Iraq’s integrity commission, parliament, and provincial officials in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf have launched a probe into the alleged avian antics, which seem a little farfetched.

    As the missing grain is said to be worth at least $350,000, investigators believed it was stolen by corrupt officials.

    On Thursday, Iraq’s Federal Commission of Integrity (FCOI) said its officials completed an audit of the silo’s stocks between May 4, 2019 and April 1, 2020.

    “The Office confirmed that there was a shortage in wheat material that amounted to (752 tons and 498 kg), and that its total value reached (421,120,000 IQD) [$353,744],” the commission said in a statement.

    Investigators have submitted their findings to the Najaf Investigation Court and called for legal action against those deemed responsible. 

    The following sites updated: