Thursday, April 23, 2015

Italian Stuffed Shells

  I dislike cleaning out the fridge!  There always seems to be several little bits of perfectly fine food that was leftover and is now bound for the disposal!  If you hate throwing away food, too, don't despair!  You can make my Italian stuffed shells recipe and  incorporate any of the fridge leftovers that you find (that you consider compatable with cheese and pasta shells...not that Tupperware of leftover pancake batter!  Ha!).  This recipe  is like the meatloaf  or vegetable soup that your grandma might have made on leftover clean out day!  It uses up the,"scraps"!
 Yesterday, as I pulled jars and plastic food containers out and set them on the island so I could wipe down my refrigerator shelves, I found a small container of probably 2 tablespoons of canned diced tomatoes, the remnants of fresh Roma tomatoe slices from sandwiches earlier in the week, a fifth of a bag of fresh baby spinach and some fresh mushrooms that were both past looking nice enough for salad.  On another shelf, I saved a partial bag of mozzarella cheese and a half-full container of ricotta cheese.  So, when I share this recipe, realize that it doesn't have exact amounts on some things;  we're using what we have.

First, I got out my large Texas skillet and browned an Italian sausage in a little olive oil (I always cut the casing off).  I browned a handful of lean ground beef in the same skillet with a little garlic salt.  Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and throw in a box of jumbo pasta shells;  cook until half done, then drain and set aside to cool.  
  Place browned meat, leftover tomatoes and other vegetable remnants (I mix the fresh spinach in with the ricotta, later) into a greased slow cooker with a jar of roasted garlic flavored marinara sauce.  I put some of my fresh basil (from my back porch) in there, too.  Cook on low for several hours.
  When ready to put in the oven, mix mozzarella (or other leftover shredded cheese) with ricotta and 1 tablespoon parsley and garlic salt.  Use a teaspoon to stuff this cheese filling into the shells.  For half of our shells, I mixed the leftover spinach in with the ricotta-you could use up kale this way, too!

Now, put a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of your greased casserole dish, layer the stuffed shells, top with the rest of the sauce and then shredded cheese.  Cover with non-stick foil and bake at 375 until shells are tender and cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mustard Potato Salad

We were going to grill hamburgers last weekend, and as I hurried through the grocery store to buy fresh burger buns, I thought of how good some potato salad would be as a side dish.  I went past the deli section and picked up their version of,"mustard potato salad." It was tart and had no boiled eggs or celery!  My conclusion?  Homemade potato salad is always the best way to go!  Here's how I make mine.

Mustard Potato Salad

Into a bowl dice:
-6 boiled and chilled Yukon Gold potatoes 
-4 chilled boiled eggs
-3 or 4 sweet pickles
-1/2  a sweet onion 
-1 stalk celery

Season to taste with salt and celery seed.  
In a separate bowl mix:
-1 1/2 C Hellman's Mayo
-2 tsp (or to taste) French's yellow mustard
-1 tsp sugar or Splenda
-a little pickle juice from the jar and a little water
Mix to pourable consistency.  Fold dressing into diced vegetables and eggs.  Chill for several hours or overnight.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

I made this lasagna today for some friends who were over to visit.  It is full of roasted vegetables and organic sauce...then, I also made a meat and roasted garlic lasagna for the carnivores among us.  I've been asked to share the recipe😊

On the left you can see my largest Pyrex baker has a layer of Ragu organic sauce, a layer of halfway-cooked lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese and black olives. The next layer is vegetables that have been drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil) seasoned with garlic and rosemary seasoning(from SAM's spice section)and roasted at 400 degrees until golden.  I used green and yellow baby squash, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, onions, broccoli and tomatoes.  You can vary the vegetables for this.

The next layer will be baby spinach leaves and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layers and end with top layer being lasagna noodles, organic sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil that has been sprayed with coconut or olive oil and bake on middle shelf of oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Remove foil and bake until top cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let rest for about 20 minutes before serving.