Thursday, February 24, 2011

stuffed shells with spinach, cheese, & sundried tomatoes

since brad has been gone during the weekdays one of my best friends, ashley, has been coming over a lot. we have been making dinner and just spending some quality time together before the move. we have been friends for a really long time (we grew up in the same town) so it's awesome to live in the same town, now, as adults. she is amazing friend and i'm going to miss her so much when we move to north carolina. loves you ashley!!

ashley has recently given up on meat (GASP! i know! but she is still eating seafood...thank goodness!) so when she comes over we tend to make vegetarian meals. like one of our favorites, pesto/mozz/tomato pizza. spinach and cheese stuffed shells were a new one for us! we actually cut the recipe in half so there were 3 servings instead of 6. the changes in math are at the bottom. the recipe didn't call for sun dried tomatoes but we thought it would add a nice flavor to the shells. it did!! :) so good! we served this with our favorite ceasar salad (from a bag! haha) and bread.

adapted from
(Fennel seeds add a flavorful new twist to this vegetarian main course.)

6 servings.

1 lb fresh or 1 10oz pkg frozen spinach (thawed)
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 c. (about 4 oz.) grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
3 1/2 c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
32 jumbo pasta shells, freshly cooked
Additional grated Parmesan
sundried tomatoes

If using frozen spinach, squeeze dry. If using fresh, cook, covered, for 2-3 minutes in 1/4 cup boiling water; drain.

Transfer spinach to large bowl. Add Ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, fennel, basil, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes to bowl. Season mixture with salt and pepper; blend.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over bottom of 9"x13"x2" baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with spinach mixture. Place shells, filling side up, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.

here is the ingredients cut in half to make 3 serving. (which is MORE than enough for 2 people...we had a lot of left overs)

½ lb fresh or ½ of a 10oz package of frozen spinach (thawed)
7.5 oz. Ricotta cheese (½ of container)
½ c. (about 2 oz.) grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried, crumbled
1.5 garlic cloves, minced (I used a scoop of the garlic from a jar)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ¾ c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
16 jumbo pasta shells, freshly cooked
Additional grated Parmesan

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

lasagna roll ups

lasagna roll ups are delish. way better than regular lasagna!! i made these the other night when my friend britton was over. it took some time but it was sooo worth it!

i got this from a blogger off of the nest. sadly, i didn't write down who it was so if it was YOU let me know! and thank you :)

lasagna roll ups


1 pound ground beef
12 lasagna noodles
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (or 3 cups homemade)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 eggs
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on package. Once cooked, lay them out in a single layer on wax paper.

In a skillet over medium heat season ground beef with the salt and pepper. Brown the meat and drain. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions soften, about 5-8 min. Then add the Spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, oregano and basil. Lower the heat to med-low and cook for 15 minutes.

Combine half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan and ricotta cheeses in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper, then mix until all ingredients are combined.

Layer a 9x13 inch baking pan with 1 cup of the meat sauce or just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay out a lasagna noodle and spoon about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture down the noodle.

Top with 1/4 cup of meat sauce.

Roll the lasagna noodle and place it seem side down in the pan.

Continue with the rest of the rolls. Finish by topping with remaining meat sauce and sprinkle reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake covered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ale-Braised Sausage and Peppers

i love reading annie's eats. and that's where i got this ale-braised sausage and peppers recipe! we served it over couscous.

one of brad and my favorite things to do at night (besides watching dexter!) is cook supper together. it's nice to just hang out in the kitchen and make something delish. so, that's what we did with these sausages and peppers...we stayed in the kitchen creating this amazing meal! ...and we may have drank the left over newcastle :)

Ale-Braised Sausage and Peppers
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. cooked sausages, such as kielbasa, sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 large red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
3 tbsp. flour, divided
1 ½ cups ale (we used newcastle)
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausages and cook, stirring and turning often, until browned, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring, until golden, 1-2 minutes.

Whisk in the ale until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add the thyme and the chicken broth, whisking to blend. Bring to a simmer. Return the sausages to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the sausage, peppers and onions to a serving dish. Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of flour, whisking constantly until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Pour thickened sauce over the sausages and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

current obsessions.

~this cheese. my friend britton brought it over the other night. remember how i told you i was eating cheese for supper? well, this is why! it's amazing. yumm. i had it for breakfast this morning. truth. you must taste it now.

~dexter. thank you netflix. a show that both bradley and i enjoy!! i mean, wow. we are on season 4. we watch it a lot all the time. i'm going to be sad when we catch up to real time!

~thanks to michabella i found this website for kate spade e- valentines day cards. i love valentines day. cheesy or not. :) my vday message to you:

~sex and the city on E! i mean, i have always been obsessed with sex and the city and with E! so now my these loves of mine are together and it makes me happy.happy.happy! although, i do hate how much of sexgets cut out.ha. boo.

Monday, February 7, 2011

still here.

i haven't been doing menu mondays because brad is out of town every week.
:( we are moving to north carolina soon and he is there during the week and home only on the weekends. i move at the end of the month. either way, i haven't really been cooking. in fact, to be honest-i sometimes just eat cheese for supper. that's bad, right? the other night i added chips to my cheese. it was like college nachos. chips covered with cheese and microwaved. blahhhh.

speaking of chips and cheese... this was my favvvvv commerical from last night. gross but delightful.