Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stuffed Shells and Meatloaf (not in the same meal)

Stuffed shells are easy to make yet fancy enough to serve to company. They freeze well, too, so it's easy to make several meals with very little extra effort.

Here is the basic recipe I use:

San Giorgio Stuffed Shells

  • 1 package (12 oz) San Giorgio Jumbo Shells, uncooked
  • 4 cups (2 lbs) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to top: optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cups (28 oz jar) spaghetti sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions (I put some olive oil in my water to help keep the shells separated.) Combine cheeses, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper. Fill each pasta with about 2 Tbsp. cheese mixture. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 13 X 9-inch baking pan. Place pasta in the pan; cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with aluminum foil; bake at 350F about 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

If you want to freeze: Place in pan and cover with sauce as above (I use a disposable foil pain, and often freeze these in a few 9x9 pans so that it makes just enough for one meal for my family.) Wrap well with foil. Place in freezer. Thaw overnight and cook according to above directions.
10 to 12 servings (There are about 35 shells in the box, and I usually have 3 or 4 that break or tear and are unusable. My family easily can eat 3-4 shells per person, so I don't think this would be 10-12 servings in my family... maybe 10 maximum.)

I also recently experimented with another recipe... I had some shells left over after using up all the filling, but not all the ingredients to mix up more filling. I also had some bleu cheese I needed to use up. So, working off the basic premise and success of the stuffed tomatoes (read the comments to see what I did), I mixed up this filling:

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 eggs (in retrospect, I could have omitted this)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 C Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • dash pepper
This turned out well, and John and I both liked the kick of the bleu cheese. I don't think the kids would have liked this at all, though, since they are not bleu cheese fans, and that was the predominant flavor of the filling. However, if you want to use cream cheese as a base for your filling instead of ricotta, I think you can. I would also try this using feta instead of bleu cheese, since my kids do like feta and feta goes well with pasta. Mmm.... cheese....

If you are a fan of bleu cheese, here is a crockpot meatloaf you should try. (It's in my crockpot right now!) I made a few of these up and froze them before I had the baby, when I got a ton of ground turkey on sale. I subbed Crasins for the dried cherries, omitted the basil, and subbed rice for the bread crumbs (like the original crockpot meatloaf, which is a huge favorite around here.) These freeze so well (I use the foil loaf pans) and make such moist meatloaf! I didn't like meatloaf until I tried it in the crockpot because it was always so dry and greasy. Making it in the crockpot allows it to stay moist while also allowing the fat to drain off (I pour off any accumulated grease before cutting my meatloaf.) Also, if you didn't know (I didn't!) you need to allow your meatloaf to cool for 15-30 minutes (or turn off the crockpot and leave it sit for an hour or so in the covered crock) before you cut it in order to get nice slices that don't fall apart.

And that's my domestic moment of the day!

2 months

So, I am not even going to apologize for being a horrible blogger. Not because I'm not sorry, but because I don't think I have anyone to apologize to... I'm pretty sure the only person who reads this blog anymore is my sister. And maybe my mom.

Anyway, until I get a real post together, here is some news:

John Andrew is part giant, I think. It seems as though Hagrid might actually have lent some DNA to this guy's genetic code.

The proof:

10-17-10: 7 lbs 10 oz, 18.5 inches
11-16-10: 11 lbs, 22.5 inches
12-21-10: 13 lbs 11 oz, 23 inches

He is giant! Or part giant. Very big, at the very least:)

He is sleeping through the night, about 8 hours between his bedtime meal and his breakfast. I am so blessed.

He is also just plain cute.

The girls are doing well and have gotten over the novelty of the baby, although they remain great helpers. Anna is still very protective of the baby, telling everyone and anyone who will listen that he is OUR baby and they cannot have him. Abigail has really stepped up as a big sister and is working hard to set a good example for Anna, as well as just help take care of the baby in general.

I am still tired, but not in that so-tired-I'm-a-zombie way.

We are looking forward to going to Chicago to celebrate Christmas with my family. Maybe without the responsibilities of a house, meals, school, pre-school, activities, John's school/work, etc... I might find the time to blog. Believe me, it's not that I have nothing to say!

Until then, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

HFC Internet Moment of the Day

HFC Internet Moment of the Day:

"My period returned about three months after night weaning, when my baby was 25 months old. nursing mama"

Why on Earth did they not night-wean until their child was 2 years old? I mean, to each their own, but seriously, didn't they want to sleep at night?
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