Stuffed Shells

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As I have told you many times before. I am Italian. Well, I’m a mutt but my dad is 100% Italian; which puts that heritage at the top of the percentage list and overall is the one I identify with most. Unless I’m telling someone that I’m part mexican. Then I push that as much as I can. Thanks mom.


For every Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving… holiday or family event there are a couple things that are always present.

  • m&m’s
  • homemade stuffed shells
  • the family

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Normally, my dad makes these a very certain way. Me, being me, changed the recipe. #daughterfail. Have I ever told you how my senior year year of high school I was a peer leader? Normally, every year , the peer leaders write a sort of “vow”.

such as “we will do this” “we don’t do that”. Well, my year, we decided not to do that. Instead, our motto was “winging it responsibly.” I kind of feel like this is my life motto. I never really know where I’m going or what I’m doing. I wing it A LOT.

So back to the stuffed shells. THE GOOD STUFF. I didn’t have time/energy/interest in making sauce from scratch. Sowwy. I used a “traditional sweet basil” combined with “‘meatloaf meat mix” and then made my own filling. I promise you, it’s delish.

Cheese Stuffing Recipe

  • 1/3 Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 package Prince jumbo shells

Meat Sauce

  • 1 package “meatloaf mix”
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced

topping: 1/2 cup parmeasan cheese

I didn’t have time to do the whole thing from scratch so I did a variation of “homemade”

I took the meatloaf mix and sauteed it with half a white onion and 2 gloves of garlic. After the meat had cooked about 90% of the way through, I took it off the heat. I put two ladles full of the meat/sauce mixture on the bottom of a 9″x13″ pan. Then I stuffed each shell with the cheese mixture and placed it in the pan.

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After filling each shell, I put more sauce on top. Finally topped with half a cup parmesan cheese.

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Baked for 20 minute at 350 and BAM! YUMMY SHELLS

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Ohhhh not as good as my dads but dang good.

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Like, DANG GOOD

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Portland, Maine

In my last post I spilled the beans on this new man in my life. He’s quite wonderful. We’ve been together for 6 months and he’s pretty much commandeered the right side of my apartment. I love it.

Maybe I’ll give you more of the skinny on him / how we met in a later post… just maybe :p

earlier this week, we went on our first vacation together. We went to Portland, Maine for 4 days. At first we only planned on staying 3 days and 2 nights. Once we got there, we fell in love with the city in its entirety, we decided to stay another night.

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As I’m sure you know, we both work/run different bars. So we went to a few brewery’s whose beer we each carry. First we went to Peak Organic, one of my favorite brewery’s. At my bar, I used to carry Peak Organic Pomegranate Wheat. SO DELISH! Man-friends bar carries a few of their brews. Primarily their Nut Brown, Fresh Cut, and their IPA. Awesome beer. We got such an amazing tour and tried some uncorroborated beers. How unusual!

duck fat

We also did the amazing Duck Fat. How could you not love a place called DUCK FAT?! Their sandwiches (cured meats), poutine and milk shakes were to die for.

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And they had this word magnetic board. UHHH DUH, AMAZING

allagash[allagash brewery. holy smokes. If you ever have the chance to try Neddles. DO IT. DO IT AND DON'T LOOK BACK! it's a sour brown ale aged in rum barrels. duh, ENOUGH SAID]

Cape Elizabeth

Lastly, we went to Cape Elizabeth to see the lighthouse and view. Awesome afternoon trip.

 

 

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Chorizo-Veggie Egg Cups

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Guess who’s back, guess who’s back…. guess who’s backkkkkkk?

So many different things have been going on. The new bar, new boyfriend, finding a new apartment. Traveling a wee-bit to new cities and towns in New England. You know, life happened.

And I have about 8 recipes/posts all built in here as Drafts that I haven’t uploaded. So I decided to start with this awesome breakfast and we’ll go from there. Deal? deal.

Oh, also, amazing boyfriend bought me the most ridiculous Cuisinart and I loooooove it and pretty much use it every day. I also recently learned how to use the attachments, hence this post. I used the shredder attachment which is how I made the little veggie/chorizo nests for the egg!

Ingredients

  • -1/2 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 summer squash, shredded
  • -1 chorizo link, shredded
  • 1/2 white/vidalia onion, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt, pepper

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Shred the both squashes, chorizo and onion. Empty into a paper towel and squeeze all the liquid out. If you have the time, let it sit for a minute after you squeeze, then squeeze the last of the moister out using a new paper towel.

In an ovenproof pan, empty your mixture, chili powder, paprika and salt, pepper and saute for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through. Add the Parmesan cheese and cook for another minute. Next, form the mixture into two little “nests.” I just used my spoon to shape it. Start with two circles and then gently press down in the middle creating a divot. This is for your egg to live!

Squirt a tiny amount of olive oil in the bottom of the nest. It helps with the cooking of the egg. Probably only about a teaspoon worth. Crack each egg into the center of the “nest.” Toss a little bit of salt and pepper on top. Bake in oven at 350 for roughly 5-10 min (until the egg whites have turned white and there is some form to your egg yolk. I LOVE running yolk but my man-friend doesn’t love it as much… so I let it cook a little longer.

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It’ll smell SO GOOD.

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Let these cool for a minute once out of the oven. Cut them apart completely with a knife, then using a spatula, scoop each one out of the pan and straight into your mouth onto a plate. I served mine with some fresh fruit! yippee!

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Honey BBQ Frito Baked Chicken Fingers

Two back to back posts?! Man! Being unemployed blows. Not that I don’t love cooking and blogging for you guys. But really, I am SO BORED. I am so incredibly ready to start working.

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Right now, my life mainly includes going to different bars and going out to eat. All. The. Time. I am so tired of it. I need structure and work and new people. I buy things for my apartment and keep running up my credit card bill. It’s really quite lovely.

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I told you last week that I’ve been going to my parents house and cooking things for them. I sneak in in the afternoon, do laundry, cook a bunch of things, sometimes see them if they come home early enough and then escape like a thief in the night. Escape with clean clothes, leftovers, generally a pan or something weird that I need for my apartment.

fritos

Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken tenders, about 8 pieced
  • 2 cups uncrushed chips, then crush
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs + ¼ cup milk
  • salt and pepper

First, clean all the fatty parts off the chicken tenders and set aside.

Next, put your Honey BBQ Fritos in a large zip lock bag. Using a rolling pin, crush up the chips until they almost resemble breadcrumbs. Next, add your breadcrumbs into the zip lock bag and give a few shakes to combine thoroughly.

Set up 3 bowls, assembly line style. In the first bowl place your flour, salt and pepper. In the second bowl whisk together your eggs and milk. In the third bowl add your chip/breadcrumb mixture.

batter

Start by covering each chicken tender with flour. Set aside for a few minutes. Setting the chicken aside helps all the coating stay on. Next dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture. Let the chicken sit in the mixture for 30-60 seconds. Put each piece of chicken in the chip mixture and really pack the chip onto each piece. Make sure it sticks on it.

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Lay each piece of chicken on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20-25 min at 350 or until chicken is cooked through.

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I used ranch dressing as the dipping sauce. YUM YUM

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Pesto Turkey Meatballs

In my last post, I told you about my obsession with pesto. OHHHH I LOVE IT.

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Literally my head is exploding with idea’s on what to do with this pesto. I love it so much.  But enough about the pesto… for now. What else is new? The bar I’ve been at for the past 9 months is closed for renovations for a few weeks. The previous owners sold it. YIKES! Scary! But OH SO EXCITING! I know the new team a little bit and I can’t say enough good things about them. I am really excited and blessed to be part of the next Audubon Era but, as with any new job, I’m nervous!

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Since I haven’t been working for 2 weeks now, I’ve been making the occasional trip home to do laundry, avoid shopping in the city, and making m+d some foodsies. (oh yep, I have another post next week involving pesto. I’m a mad-woman!)

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Right sorry, got distracted there. So I made these amazing pesto-ground turkey meatballs. NOMMMMMMM. No really. I’ve made this recipe twice now because they’re soooo sooooo good.

Ingredients

  • 1 package ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup panko
  • ½ white onion – diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed/diced
  • 3/4 cup pesto

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olive oil to fry meatballs in.

Mix all the ingredients together. Form small balls about a quarter-sized in diameter.

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Now here’s the tricky part (and by tricky, I really mean, more than a 1 sentence step). I heated up the oil in a non-stick pan, and friend the meatballs so the outside was crisp. Then I placed the browned meatballs on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Then I baked at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. I tested the meatballs after 15 min to see if they were cooked through. Mine needed a few more minutes. This will depend on the size/thickness of each meatball.

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Enjoy! Hopefully next week I’ll be able to update you on whats going on with the new bar!

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Pesto: my new obsession

For any of you who don’t know me well, let me share something with you about me.

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I get super obsessed with things very easily and very… deeply. I’ve always been this way. I’m like a puppy obsessed with playing ball and then see’s a squirrel.

pesto

No joke. In the past 10 days I’ve made this recipe three times. and it makes a LOT of pesto.

There are so many things I want to do with this pesto, chances are when I come back from New Orleans on Monday I’ll make another batch.

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I made a batch today and can’t wait to blog what I did with it.

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If you think about it, this version of my pesto recipe has everything that I love in life in it.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbls butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small-med white onion, diced
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 (8 oz) package monterey jack cheese
  • 1.25 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil

Steps:

melt butter in a sauce pan. Add diced onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Your kitchen will smell amazing. You’ll thank me!

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Once the onions and garlic are sauteed add them and the rest of the ingredients into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add salt/pepper to taste.

OH YUM YUM. I’m excited just looking at these pictures.IMG_8603

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Marathon Week

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

Heehee.

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful day with your lovahsssss. Drink lots of champagne and yummy snacks!

This post is actually the opposite of the above statement. I have a marathon a week from Sunday in Hyannis and I’m not ready for it. I’m kind of ready for it but not. I’ve been going out a LOT the past few weeks and eating out almost every day. #yikes! So starting today, no more restaurant food- even when I work doubles. I’m getting up a little earlier, making lunch to bring with me and eating breakfast before work. Haven’t done that in agggessssss.

I want to feel good as I run this marathon and eating out everyday makes me not feel so good. ya know what I mean, jelly bean?

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This really isn’t a recipe post. It’s a “let me publicly write all this stuff to hold myself accountable.”

I made ground turkey with onions. Added some taco seasoning and voila! lunch for two days. I just put it into some Tupperware, made a salad in more Tupperware and we have lunch. horray! It’s going to be hard working doubles but I usually have an hour to myself in between shifts when I can run home and warm something up.

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So for the next 10 days I’m attempting to only eat home cooked meals and not consume any alcohol. The latter already sounds miserable. I figure I’ll just work a lot and not have time to go out? sounds like a plan? cool. And I’ll have to do my final, long run this weekend before the marathon. I’m not worried about the running part… just feeling good while doing it.

So hopefully I’ll have some awesome recipes to blog for you this week as I try my hand at not eating at my bar. Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

Have a great Valentine’s Day EVERYONE!!!

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Broccoli Mushroom Soup

Do you ever have those moments in your life that you replay over-and-0ver-and-over again in your head for days after they happen? Moments that you feel are just game changers in your life?

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I had one of those moments last weekend. I keep attributing it to being 27. It’s the first time I turned a year old and really felt it. It’s weird. I’m not entirely sure I can put it to paper yet because I’m still sorting through those feelings. But anyways, so I had one of those moments with this guy I went out with and have been wildly embarrassed and kinda sad about it since. #yikes. get over it girl. So here we are. A snow-day Wednesday. I’m stuck indoors all alone (newsflash: sometimes living alone SUCKS), depressingly missing my best friend, replaying this evening over and over again… trying to snap myself out of it.

IMG_8529SNAP!!! I started cooking and immediately made myself feel better. Funny how that works. Kinda like running for me… except there is 8″ of snow out there. Mayyybee we’ll hold back on that.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbls butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 package button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 large heads of broccoli, steamed (very soft) (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups 5 blend italian cheese
  • chorizo sausage

mushrooms

  • melt butter in a large sauce pan then add onions and garlic. Once onions are translucent, add diced mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes
  • add the broccoli and mix all veggies together. Then add the vegetable broth and milk and head for a few minutes.
  • using a hand blender, or large food processor, blend the mixture until smooth. Return to medium heat and add cheese, slowly stirring

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  • As your soup heats, slice up your chorizo and cook on high heat, almost burning on each side. Ladle your soup in 4 bowls, add crispy chorizo and toasted pumpkin seeds (store bought).

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So here’s to growing up. One little step at a time. Hopefully I’ll get there eventually.

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Parsnip Soup

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I went home to my parents house on Sunday to hang out for a bit, leave my car at the dealer to get checked out and make my ‘rents dinnah. They are the most amazing little parents and drove into the city on my birthday (NYE) as I was setting the bar up for our festivities. They stayed for about 15 minutes, probably 7 of those minutes they chatted while I answered phones and talked to customers who stopped by. So I wanted to thank them for driving all the way in just to watch me run around like a maniac.

sauteed food

As I was making this soup, my sister and brother-in-law took off from the house. Matt’s comment? “I’m skeptical of parsnips.” Remember how many times I’ve told you that they don’t like orange things? I think that parsnips resemble carrots too much. Carrots are orange. Off the table for those two.

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This soup is super easy to make. There are 2 main steps.

First step: roast the parsnips. Cut them up, drizzle with olive oil in a bowl and roast in the oven until a knife can easily slide in and out (that’s what she said).

Second step: blending your veggies to make soup. In a large pot, melt butter, add onion, garlic, celery and sweat down for about 7 minutes. Then add your roasted parsnips. Let all the veggies sweat down until a knife easily slides through everything. Add veggie stock and milk. Salt and pepper to taste.

Either in a large blender or with one of those cool hand blender/mixer things, blend that stuff up until smooth.

I topped my moms with toasted pecans. My dad added soup crackers to his. nom nom

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Ingredients

1 giant Vidalia onion

4 stalks celery

2 packages (about 8 parsnips) peeled and roasted

1 stick butter

1 quart chicken stock

¾ quart whole milk

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I didn’t add nuts or crackers to mine. Rather, I accompanied it with prosecco :) Enjoy!

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Easy Pumpkin Cake Souffle Dessert

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I know, I know. I’m so terrible. I’ve abandoned you for SO long.

Like any normal human’s new years resolutions “new year, new you!” is on my mind. But can we really change in a day? Can we really just flip a switch and be a new person?  Nah. I just want to improve some of the things I already do. For instance: my blogging.

I’ve been cooking! I’ve been baking! I’ve been EATING! just not blogging to you. I sowwies.

So here is some pumpkin souffle cake I made you. I made it over Christmas, forgot to bring it home on Christmas day, and then ate it for dinner four nights in a row. Sorry dad!

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But this dessert is so easy! And even though the holiday season is come and gone, again, you should still try this. Because pumpkin-orange CAKE LIKE desserts are tremendous.

Oh, you’ll need a crock pot.

Ingredients

- 1 box white cake mix

- 3/4 can pumpkin pie filling

- 1 large egg

- 8 oz container whipped cream cheese

- 1/2 cup powdered sugar

- cinnamon, to taste

Step one: In a mixing bowl, mix cake mix, pumpkin pie filling and egg until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until well combined (Best if you use a hand mixer as opposed to a mixing spoon).

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In your crock pot, layer the cake mix with the cream cheese mix.

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Try to keep the cream cheese mix away from the sides of the crockpot. You want an orange ring around the outside. After each layer, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon.

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aweeee yeah baby. Turn your crock pot on medium and let it do all the work for about 3 hours. Check on the cake after that. It’ll probably take longer but depending on your machine, it might be done. The middle should be cooked through, like a normal cake, and the sides will pull away from the edge of the bowl.

Do your very best to eat this while it’s hot. Of course, don’t burn yourself like I normally do, but this dessert is best when it’s served right when it’s done. YUM!

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