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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with cheese. 3 different cheeses to be exact.

I’ve been seeing a ton of different Stuffed Shells recipes on Pinterest lately, particularly, Mexican Stuffed Shells. You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound absolutely delicious! But, I’ve always wanted to make traditional Stuffed Shells so the Mexican version will have to wait.

These were super duper easy. For some reason, I had always thought these would take some kind of culinary miracle to make but really all you’re doing is cooking pasta and stuffing it with cheese. Easy stuff here people!

I’d even go out on a limb and say that this is an easy enough recipe for a quick weeknight recipe.

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • 1 box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 16 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 garlic cloves – pressed
  • Jar of prepared pasta sauce
  • Pepper, Parsley and Oregano to taste

Start by cooking a box of jumbo stuffed shells according to the directions. I seasoned the water with salt and a generous amount of olive oil. Its always important to salt your pasta water as its the only time you are able to season the pasta. The oil keeps the shells from sticking together but you won’t be able to avoid having a few stick together.

While the noodles are cooking, combine Ricotta, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded Mozzarella, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, garlic and your other seasonings to taste. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Once the noodles have cooled a bit, stuff each shell with a heaping teaspoon full of your cheese mixture. Do NOT rinse the pasta shells with water. You will lose all of the starch and some of the flavor. I’m pretty sure Italians disown you for that. Its a big no no.

Pour pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish and place stuff shells on top. Top with sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Top with leftover cheese and put back in the oven to allow the cheese to melt before serving.

I actually ended up with enough shells and cheese mix to make a second 8×8 pan. Little did I know, I will be eating stuffed shells for the rest of the week. Lucky for me, they turned out awesome!

I probably over use this phrase, but: check out that cheesy deliciousness! In my next life, I think I should come back as a block of cheese. That’s how much I love cheese.

No culinary miracles needed.

Now, time to watch Top Chef! Very interested to see who goes home this week.

 

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Chef Tyler

Is it Friday yet? After a 4 day weekend these past 2 days have felt like they have draaaagggggggggeeeedddd by. On top of that, today’s gloomy, rainy weather made me want to stay curled up in bed and watch movies all day.

Since I felt like all I have done since Thanksgiving is cook, I wanted a break from the kitchen. I decided to let Tyler take the reigns for the evening and cook up something for us. Being the meat-eater that he is, steak it was!

He grabbed some NY Strips from the butcher this afternoon and seasoned ’em up to throw on the grill.

Notice his “secret recipe” mushrooms. If you remember from The Last Supper, he refuses to give me the recipe. But, from what I gather (aka I’m nosey and sneak in the kitchen,) they’re cooked in butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Let them simmer on the stove and top on your steak. Or eat them straight out of the pan. Not that I’ve done that before or anything…

He is definitely a much better grill master than I am. I just can’t seem to get the temperatures right. That and I’m impatient and like to flip what I’m cooking constantly while I stand there. He’s the Bobby Flay to my Giada / Paula blend. 🙂

Wow, that was super cheesy. Sorry y’all.

Our steaks were paired with Near East Parmesan Cous Cous to which we added additional freshly shaved Parmesan to for a little extra umph. Check out that cheesy deliciousness!

And to add a vegetable to our plates, we had asparagus. Well, kinda. They were asparagus with crumbled bacon. Ok, they were asparagus cooked in bacon grease and then topped with crumbled bacon. Same thing.

Cook the bacon and set aside to get off some of the drippings. Toss your asparagus with the ends trimmed into the pan with the bacon grease and cover to steam the asparagus to soften them. Then, crumble your bacon once its cooled and add it to the pan and serve. You may want to put the asparagus on a plate with a paper towel like you would with bacon so your asparagus aren’t swimming in bacon grease. That way, you can at least trick yourself into thinking there is still some nutritional value.

Now, time to watch the newest episode of Sons of Anarchy! Does anyone else watch this show? I just started watching this season but holy moly do they keep you on the edge of your seat!

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

So, last night I gave y’all a little teaser about what was cookin’ for dinner tonight: Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs. I made the vinegary coleslaw to go with the ribs and man was it delish!

Everyone needs to embrace the crock pot! It makes weeknight dinners or any meal for that matter unbelievably easy. Not to mention, if you use some of the Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners, clean up is a breeze! And they even place an additional purpose in this recipe!

Two birds. One stone.

I started by getting a 2.5 lb rack of beef ribs at the store. Drizzle olive oil over one side then season with garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes and kosher salt. Rub the oil and seasoning mixture into the ribs and repeat on the other side. Place into your slow cooker liner, roll it up, and place it in the fridge overnight.

I say season because its a very vague term. Obviously, I like things spicy so I tend to use more cayenne than some. So, season to your liking or even mix up the seasonings a bit. You could add brown sugar, cumin, etc. However, spicy is always better in my book. 🙂

The next day, pop the ribs in the crock pot. Since you already have them in the liner, you don’t even have to touch the yucky raw meat soaked aluminum foil or Ziploc bag. Perfect for a rushed Monday morning when you’re struggling to get out the door!

Note: I have a large oval crock pot so the whole rack fit perfectly but if you have a smaller round one you may need to cut the rack in half to make it fit.

Top with half of a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sauers Original), cook on low for 6 hours and enjoy the flavors that are wafting through your house when you get home!

These were literally falling off the bone when I went to baste them with the sauce that had accumulated. Add additional BBQ sauce on top for a little added flavor or just enjoy with the sauce they were cooking in.

Tyler had the genius idea to pull them off of the bone and then top them with the coleslaw. It was just like a pulled pork sandwich! He’s so smart! 🙂

Fortunately and unfortunately these were so good that there wasn’t anything leftover. That helps my no-room-in-the-fridge-to-store-leftovers problem but means I’ll have to make these again soon!

Now, its time for bed! I was wide awake when I tried to go to bed last night and didn’t fall asleep for over an hour. Why is it I’m ready to get in bed at 10 o’clock on a Friday or Saturday night but am wide awake on Sunday night? Guh.

Hope everyone had a great Monday!

Leftover Sunday

I have so many leftovers in my fridge. Like, an endless amount. I’ve even taken some of the desserts to friends houses so I’m less likely to eat them and it still feels like I have an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 8 in my fridge. Ugh. Looks like I’ll be eating Turkey Sandwiches for lunch all week.

Before I enjoyed yet another lunch of leftovers, I put up my Christmas Decorations! 🙂 I love Christmas even more now that I have my own house and can build my own collection of decorations. Not to mention, my new Evergreen scented candle. Ahhhh the holidays!

After I finished decking the halls, I did some dinner prep for tomorrow night’s dinner.

I have been dying to try out some new crock pot recipes and thought that this would be the perfect pairing!

Now, in the south, we eat a lot of coleslaw and I have tried countless different types/styles. Growing up, I detested coleslaw and refused to eat it. But, as I got older and my tastes developed, I realized I just don’t like certain types.

Some styles are too sweet, some too mayonnaise-y and lets be fair, I can be pretty picky so some were doomed from the get-go. However, I’m a huge fan of all things vinegar based so naturally it seemed appropriate to make a vinegar based coleslaw. I will admit that there is a tiny bit of mayo in there but nothing compared to what normal coleslaw recipes call for.

First, I started with two bags of Dole Classic Coleslaw mix. I’ve made this recipe without the bagged stuff before but cutting down on prep time? Don’t mind if I do!

Then, I threw about 1/2 of a large red onion into my mini food processor. I had to break it up into 2 batches but it still worked well.

Followed by a green pepper that I again broke up into 2 batches.

Typically, I would chop all of this by hand. But, I like how finely chopped this made everything and it blended nicely with the cabbage mix. And again, if it saves me time, I’m all for it!

Once everything was mixed in, I poured in roughly 1 1/2 – 2 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 heaping tablespoons of light Mayo, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Give it a good mix and Voila!

As with most dishes, this will taste better after sitting for an hour or two to allow all of the flavors to meld but feel free to enjoy right away.

Now, I will wrap up this lovely Sunday with some trashy reality TV shows before heading back to work tomorrow. Can’t every weekend be a 4 day weekend? Geez Louise.

Have a great week y’all!

Turkey Day

I hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did! I was exhausted by 9:15 though when everyone left…literally my legs/hips ached from standing all day cooking. I’m falling apart and I’m not even 25 yet…

As I’m sure many of you did, we ended up with way too much food. Like way too much.

Before I get into my full Turkey Day swing, I have to share with you the little fiasco Tyler and I had while prepping Wednesday night. He gave me permission to share this on the blog but he still probably won’t be too happy that I am. Oh well.

It all started with Oreo Balls (ie Oreo Truffles if you’re fancy). My friend Bridget (the mother of the beautiful baby Parks!) introduced me to these back at the beginning of the year and I was hooked. They’re tiny bits of heaven for sure. While planning the Thanksgiving menu I knew these had to make the dessert list.

To make things easier the day of, I decided to make the desserts the night before. Tyler was my wonderful helper for the evening so he tackled the crushing of the Oreos while I iced my Pumpkin Cake.

This is what happened..

It looked like an Oreo atomic bomb went off in my kitchen and my Pumpkin Cake got a nice crushed Oreo topping.

First words out of his mouth, “How mad are you at me?”. Of course I wasn’t mad. All I could do was laugh But, we cleaned it all up, made a quick run for more Oreos, and were back on track…until we burnt the chocolate and had to wait for my parents to bring over a new bag the next day. You live and ya learn right?

They turned out great though! They’re super rich but they’re always a  crowd pleaser and did I mention how easy they are? Tip: If you use a food processor, make sure the lid is locked.

Oreo Balls/Truffles:

  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 – 80z. package of cream cheese
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips

Crush the Oreos in your food processor until finely crushed. Then, add in your softened cream cheese and combine. Roll Oreo/cream cheese mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for an hour to harden.

Next, Melt your chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Dip the balls and place back on wax paper and put back into the freezer to cool.

Serve and enjoy!

Now, for some another holiday Campbell family favorites. Hot Virginia Dip.

This stuff is mouth wateringly delicious! I’ve been eating this dip for every holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.) for as long as I can remember. And I love it so much that my Grandma has started simply referring to it as “my dip”. Sad, I know.

For the longest time I thought this was a Campbell family secret. No one in the world could have ever created such greatness…until I googled the name and found a billion different recipes online.

Whatever, I’m still convinced my Grandma was the original creator.

Hot Virginia Dip:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 T milk
  • 4 t minced onion
  • 2 T butter (plus extra for sauteeing the pecans)
  • 1 – 4.5 oz. jar dried beef

Combing the room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, milk, minced onion, butter, and dried beef into your food processor. Combine all ingredients and then pour into a 9×9 baking dish.

Saute pecans in butter and pour on top of the cream cheese/sour cream mixture. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Devour.

Alas, a good time was had by all! Lots of full tummy’s left my house to go home and slip into a food coma induced good night’s sleep!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with their family, friends and loved ones! I’m off to do some Black Friday Shopping with my Mom! 🙂

Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away…holy moly. How is it here already? Wasn’t Halloween just last week? Ughhh time flies.

I did cross the last few things off of my Thanksgiving house preparation to-do list though. As you may remember, I had a DIY Weekend last week with a couple of projects around my house. One of which lingered over into this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other than a new light fixture, my dining room is finished! Check out the DIY wine rack idea I found on Pinterest (I told you I had a problem) a few weeks ago. I sent it to my Mom knowing my Step Dad has lots of palettes at his work that I could use to make this. She showed it to him and he made it the next day. Isn’t he awesome? I was planning on staining it but now that we hung it, I like how rustic it looks. And did I mention it was free? Free is always in my budget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the piece of my DIY weekend that lingered, painting my kitchen, IT’S DONE! Hallelujah its done! Again, the finishing touch will be a new light fixture but I’m in love with how warm the color makes the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also perfected my DIY no sew roman shade when I put it back up. It looks much better this time around than when I put it up for the trial run. Next I’m going to try this no sew valance for the other window…by Thursday…that gives me 3 weekdays weeknights to do it. Oh and grocery shop. And prep stuff in advance. Cue anxiety.

Since I had been working my fingers to the bone the past two weekends, I was in major need of some relaxation and Friendsgiving was the perfect way to do that! Tyler’s brother and his girlfriend hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at their house last night. We all got together and noshed on traditional Thanksgiving favorites but with friends in stead of family.

You always spend time with your family on Thanksgiving but its nice to be able to share the holiday with your friends too. 🙂

First up on the menu: Turkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler carved it up for us so we could dig in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made some Paula Deen Creamy Mac and Cheese which was on point. Shredded cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese soup, heavy cream AND butter. Tell me you don’t love everything about what I just said.

Other side dishes included Guy Fieri’s Green Bean Casserole (which has now been added to my recipe list for Thanksgiving), Cornbread Oyster Stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and Ukrop’s Whitehouse Rolls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you say food coma? Speaking of which, I may or may not have passed out on the couch while everyone else was watching the FSU v. UVA game. It wasn’t even 11 o’clock. That happens to the best of us, right?

Well, I’m off to catch up on The Next Iron Chef and rest up for the (short) work week! I hope everyone has a good week! 🙂

Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Shrimp Bake

TGIF! I am very excited to get my weekend started! What’s in store you might ask? BREAKING DAWN IS WHAT’S IN STORE! Sorry, didn’t mean to get a little carried away but I am very excited!

Not to mention, the painting that I have to finish from last week’s DIY Weekend. Oh and some Thanksgiving menu planning and shopping. Ahhhh the life of an adult.

But I made a dish last night that I just had to share with you! Its so easy that you must add this to your weeknight dinner rotation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, so it doesn’t look so appetizing in the baking dish but trust me, its light, quick and super flavorful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I served it over cous cous and which gave it just enough added texture to make it a full meal. I’m sure it would be great tossed with pasta too!

Recipe:

  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 jar of roasted red peppers (or homemade)
  • 2 quarts of grape tomatoes
  • 1 container of crumbled feta
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic in a baking dish and toss to coat. Cook the tomatoes for 15 minutes. Once those are done, add in the shrimp and red peppers and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Once the shrimp is cooked thoroughly, add feta (I used a 6oz container) and squeeze lemon juice. Stir to combine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is so good! It got rave reviews from Tyler so its guy approved too. Bon Appetit!

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