Friday, January 23, 2015

LOVE ME, LOVE MY KITCHEN



    

  I couldn't get enough of holding this little cutie and it is making me inpatient for my granddaughter.  2 more weeks!  I bet MC is happier than I am about this.  ;-)



I made a promise to Kevin to make a few meals before she had the baby, while they had to work and  deal with being tired and a bit stressed out.  These are the times that I feel so blessed that I don't have a job outside of the home, and that my kitchen is my favorite place in the whole house.  Things have been bubbling away since I did a big shopping on Monday.  This is a huge pot of soup of lentils, sausage and Swiss chard.  Daughters Emily and Abby said, "Forget it, Kevin will never eat this."  I said, okay,  he can go to McDonald's then.  Son Jeff said, "Make healthy 'stuff' for him'".  They are going hiking in the spring for Jeff's bachelor party.  Kevin has been running every day.  We'll see.  

Recipe links will be listed in a future post or if you follow me on Pinterest, you can find most of them there.   More on that later.



STUFFED SHELLS

1)  While you boil your shells, (1 lb.) in a sea of salted water, make your sauce.  I use 2 jars of pasta sauce...I like to mix them..here I did an Arrabiatta  (sp?) sauce mixed with Emeril's garlic marinara (he has super tasty red sauces).  When I have time, I make my own sauces but for now...we do the convenient.  Heck, I've made my own pasta as well, I'm not going to try to impress with this recipe!  However, to this sauce I added one pound of cooked ground sweet Italian sausage, as well as 1 medium chopped green pepper and a handful of fresh basil.  Let simmer on low for 1/2 hour to meld the ingredients. 

2)  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together a 16 oz. container of Ricotta cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, two beaten eggs and two tablespoons of parsley.  

3)  Drain shells when just soft.  Mix a tablespoon of olive oil into the colander and toss several times to keep them from sticking and to drain excess water from their folds.    

4)  Assemble a work surface.  Spread out shells and have a 9x13 dish ready with a few spoonfuls of red sauce on the bottom..  Place a shell on a cutting board and with a teaspoon, add about two dollops of the cheese mixture.  Use your (clean) fingers to sort of tuck that cheese in.  Place into the dish.  Keep repeating until you have two layers of shells.  Don't try to be perfect.  This takes patience.  Enjoy the process, it's so worth it.  

5)  Spoon the red sauce over, top with about 1 1/2 cups of shredded Mozzerella, as evenly as you can...then give it a good sprinkling of Parmesan.  

6)  Bake 40 minutes covered with foil.  Remove foil and give it a few minutes under the broiler, watching very carefully. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before you serve.  Use a big old metal spoon.  This should not be cut like lasagna, although it looks like it should.

I try to make recipes sound doable...maybe some look complicated in the crazy way I write them.  I simply believe that when I was a young "cook", I shied away from recipes that had a mile long list of ingredients.  Sometimes half of those involved spices.  Still, it looked daunting.  I try to make my recipes look and cook "friendly"...for all of you by listing the ingredients in bold.  You can assemble them easily this way.

 



As late as it is, I'm off to make one more dinner to freeze for my lovebirds, and the dough for the cookies.  I simply feel alive, worthwhile and earnestly chuffed to do this.

I will see all of you soon.  Many prayers for those on the east coast...we've heard of the treacherous weather coming your way.

I also wanted to mention that I joined Instagram, and you can find me here if you want to follow me.  And you can also follow me on Pinterest here.  No big deal, I think you might like to see some of my "found" recipes that are so Go To!!

Jane xx


Joining in with Thoughts from Alice

45 comments:

Laurie M said...

oh my goodness, MC looks very ready to be a Mommy, she is glowing!! What a beautiful baby,
you have been so busy and you sound so happy!Your recipe and foods make me hungry!!

Sarah said...

Exciting times! I know you are eager for that little granddaughter to make an appearance.

Debby said...

M.C. looks good. She looks heathy and definitely pregnant. Is she scheduled for delivery as it sounds like a date is set. Or are you the anxious grammy wanting the baby born on her due date. Just you wait , you will really be busy. So sweet of you to fix food for them.
I just got home from watching Max and Mabel so their parents could go to a movie. We had a crazy fun time.
You mayy want to get some rest before the baby.

Maggie said...

Good food, great chat and a very imminent grand daughter - perfect day. Following you on Pinterest now, too.
bon weekend.

KATHY said...

You have been one busy cook!! Everything looks wonderful.

Kathy

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Jane,

Well, there is not a spare moment at your house at the moment. But, how exciting it all is and we are sure that you are all looking forward to the arrival of the new grandchild.

We have often said that if one wants a job doing then either ask a busy person or do it yourself. Clearly, you are the busy person whom everyone turns to when something needs doing! We can well imagine that you are the centre around which everything spins!

Wishing you all happy times and a safe delivery!

podso said...

One of the blessings of not working outside your home is that you can be such a help to your kids at such a time. I know how much I appreciate someone bringing a meal to me--it's just different than take out from a restaurant. Means so much more.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I love instagram - just followed you :-)

Diana Wise said...

Great post Jane. I sure wish that I had your culinary talents!
Best wishes on the arrival of your new grandchild...I can just imagine how exciting that must be!

I love your day job description. Sounds like a good one!

hugs
Sissie

Theresa said...

Cute little one and I am SO excited to see your precious little Granddaughter! That soup looks wonderful! It sounds like you should open a restaurant:) Have a blessed weekend dear Jane, HUGS!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Exciting times ahead Jane!! I know you can't wait to meet your little granddaughter! You have been one busy bee...the meals you made looked so yummy...that's such a big help to them! It snowed overnight here...we only got about 6 inches it looks so pretty! Enjoy your weekend!

Susie said...

Blondie, I think you must be a good cook. I have seen some really nice dishes on your blog. I love stuffed shells but have never made them.:):) I know how you feel about the kids not getting too stressed and still have a nice dinner...not just eating order out.Blessings to all at your house. xoxo,Susie

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

I will follow you on Instagram too. The meals sound delicious to me!!! Hope that mew baby girl gets here soon!!! There is nothing better!!!!!!

Stacey said...

I think it's so sweet that you are cooking for the little parents to be. They will love having that good hot food to go to!

I'm with you...I'm so grateful that I get to be at home. It's my favorite place of all.

Sonny G said...

love the shell recipe, Jane..

you are gonna be a fab grandma and much appreciated and loved..

you have the best way of typing , that makes it feel like , I can actually her you talking.. that's a gift few have and what makes me love coming here to read..

Melanie said...

I love the picture of MC! She is definitely ready to have that baby soon! Your food looks so good...funny, Brian and I were just talking about stuffed shells the other day. I haven't made them in ages. I used to stir in chopped spinach into the ricotta cheese. It was one of Phil's favorite dishes. Now that we've been talking about it and you happened to feature it in your post, I need to make them again soon. I definitely want your lentil soup recipe, too. Have a great weekend!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

That baby will be here before you know it! So exciting! It really is nice to have food prepared for when they get home with the baby!

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I'm not surprised you got asked to make those cookies! They looked so good at the shower! You might have a whole new side business opening up. :) I know you can't wait to meet your granddaughter in a couple of weeks. Exciting times! So glad you joined IG. I told you you'd love it! :)

Lulu said...

Yes, your daughter looks ready to spit out that baby. How wonderful to have a new and precious gift to live. Your thoughtfully prepared meals will be appreciated I'm sure as new parents will have plenty to keep them busy.

Kathleen Grace said...

Two weeks and counting, and we all know sometimes they are early ;>) What a good mom you are to make meals for the soon to be new parents. Doing things for our kids just never gets old does it?

Cozy Little House said...

What a wonderful person you are to do this for them! Homemade, the best food of all. No, I'm one who has not made the shells. You know I'm not a very creative or good cook. I wish I could join you at Home Goods, but we don't have any here in OK.
Brenda

Debbie said...

What a sweet Mamma you are, Jane.
Just think about what kind of Gramma you will be!! You are such a loving, giving soul.
I'm sure everything you do is a labor of love.
Never change, dear heart.
Debbie
xoxo

Primitive Stars said...

Hi Jane, you are a very loving mother, so sweet. Cute little baby, love that face. Love the heart cookies, yum yum.Blessings Francine.

Linda said...

Hi Jane.....
I think the kitchen is one of my most favorite places too!
I made chicken soup on Thursday....almost all gone!
Next is Scotch Broth with some left over lamb from Friday nights dinner....
Enjoy your weekend.....try yo be calm about the upcoming arrival......♥️
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

MC looks wonderful - happy and healthy, Jane! I know you can't wait to hold that new little grandbaby. It is very sweet of you to prepare some dinners for them. I'm sure they will be thankful especially those first couple of weeks as they adapt to becoming a family.

Sonia said...

Cute pictures! The baby is so adorable. I have never made stuffed shells...so now I must try them. I love pasta and just have never had them served to me that way. I'm counting the days till spring and can't wait for pretty little bulbs to start to emerge. Good tease photo!
Miss Bloomers

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

I know that you are so excited that you are going to be a grandmother. You going to love that baby to death and what a great gm your going to be. What a lucky little girl.
Your shells sounds wonderful. I am on the Adkins diet so carb's are a no no.
Have lost 20 # in 8 weeks and want to loose another 40 more.
I know what you mean about being busy - I just don't know where my time goes.
I was out in the back yard today - over 80 today - I just want to get in the dirt and dig.
Well my dear so glad that your hands are better. Have a wonderful week dear friend.
Hugs
Mary

Doreen@househoneys said...

You look way too young to be a grandma, but what a great one you're going to be!

(The northeast has gotten some snow, but nothing terrible I believe.)

Stay warm and continue to cook up a storm for your lucky family!

xxx

Carol said...

Oh, your sweet love birds are going to consider you an absolute angel for cooking all these delectables! For me, being in the kitchen preparing the everyday hohum stuff isn't nearly as much fun as making something special either for Hubby or for guests. Being in my kitchen generally makes me very happy!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Oh MY! She does look ready to have that little one! We are expecting one too..and my husband is beside himself. His first great!
That food looks fantastic!! JUST fantastic..
What an adorable button nose she has, just too cute.. I LOVE babies. No wonder I had seven of them!

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane,
You have such a sweet family and you just glow writing about them. Your love shows in every post and they are blessed to have your loving care. Precious pictures you shared and I'm sure your son will love your soup.
xoxo,
Vera

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

What a glowing mother in waiting. I love this time of anyone's pregnancy, it is such an exciting time with things so close. I love the idea of the den, I NEED one of those. My DIY is about to start on the house and we are meant to be getting it ready to sell, but I may just decide to do one room to do the planning and resting in!! I've followed you on Instagram and Pinterest xx

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Yes Jane she looks more than ready to have that baby girl!
I am expecting to hear something anyday.
Your such a good and sweet Mom to make those meals for them.
And they look so delicious!
I am really curious about your woman cave or den. I bet it will be so wonderful! So I just finished a little dress for your grand-daughter and I am going to get it in the mail next week.
Big Hugs friend,
Cindy

It's me said...

So exciting time for you...happy new week love Ria...x!

ImSoVintage Laura Walker said...

She looks beautiful, but I bet she can't wait to greet that sweet baby. I know how excited you must be getting. How sweet of you to have some meals prepared for them. xo Laura

Bluebird49 said...

Oh yeah! MC looks quite ready--and very healthy! I can see you in a few years with that little granddaughter beside you in your kitchen, showing her how to cut heart shaped sugar cookies! It's terribly fun---really!
You have indeed been a busy lady--and seeing those stuffed shells really was a bit too tempting. Ed wants to lse some weight and I do too--as always (don't most women?!), and I'm trying hard to figure out how to do this thing.He doesn't want to go on Atkins, nor low fat, nor does he want to count calories--I'm about to pull my hair out! It's easier when it's just me eating differently and cooking him what he usually waned--no matter how unhealthy! Now, I'm supposed to figure out "what can I eat?" for Him, too! Girlfriend~! What am I going to do! He expects to lase 5 pounds a week, but still not count calories or stick to a "plan!"
(I imagine--at this point, if I had a "woman cave" -and I wish I did--my husband would want to call it "the Old Bat cave!" ;)
I hope you can get rid of that beautiful furniture, so that you can get "Charlie" to come and work his magic--and still afford a comfy chaise and TV. It will work out--I know it will.
Hope you had a good weekend. We went and played some music Friday night, and I rested most of Sat. Than, up early this morning again--so it's been a bit busy here--just in a different way than you, as usual!
Ed's cousin is very ill--and I just lost 2 of my own--so please send some good thoughts and prayers our way! xxTrudy

Bluebird49 said...

Oh yeah! MC looks quite ready--and very healthy! I can see you in a few years with that little granddaughter beside you in your kitchen, showing her how to cut heart shaped sugar cookies! It's terribly fun---really!
You have indeed been a busy lady--and seeing those stuffed shells really was a bit too tempting. Ed wants to lse some weight and I do too--as always (don't most women?!), and I'm trying hard to figure out how to do this thing.He doesn't want to go on Atkins, nor low fat, nor does he want to count calories--I'm about to pull my hair out! It's easier when it's just me eating differently and cooking him what he usually waned--no matter how unhealthy! Now, I'm supposed to figure out "what can I eat?" for Him, too! Girlfriend~! What am I going to do! He expects to lase 5 pounds a week, but still not count calories or stick to a "plan!"
(I imagine--at this point, if I had a "woman cave" -and I wish I did--my husband would want to call it "the Old Bat cave!" ;)
I hope you can get rid of that beautiful furniture, so that you can get "Charlie" to come and work his magic--and still afford a comfy chaise and TV. It will work out--I know it will.
Hope you had a good weekend. We went and played some music Friday night, and I rested most of Sat. Than, up early this morning again--so it's been a bit busy here--just in a different way than you, as usual!
Ed's cousin is very ill--and I just lost 2 of my own--so please send some good thoughts and prayers our way! xxTrudy

Bluebird49 said...

Wow--I need to check before I push the final comment button, Sweetie! Forgive me--it's late and, well, I guess I'm just an "Old bat"!

http://foxandfinchantiques.wordpress.com said...

Well, I love the vintage channel-back chair. That is a specialty upholstery technique and hard to do. Some lucky person will love it

Kelly said...

Sounds like you're finding ways to stay busy and productive. That's better than milling around bored during the cold months of winter. That soup looked good. That's so nice of you to make meals for the new parents to be so they won't scrounge around for dinner after the baby comes. That is such a busy time for most parents!

Coastal Cottage Dreams said...

So nice of you preparing meals. I love stuffed shells, too. I am so glad I am missing snow.

Vel Criste said...

MC is glowing! I'll keep her in my prayers as well as your Grandbaby! That baby is CUTIE PATOOTIE! Glad that you have your kitchen to keep you busy dear and good luck on your "woman cave"! Started following you on IG!

Rue said...

Isn't it funny.... you think you won't be busy after the holidays, but then you find out you're even more busy LOL

I'm so happy to hear about your new grand baby :)

It's so great to catch up with you!

xoxo,
rue

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Yep, it's looking about time for that grandbaby to make an appearance. I was going to ask in your latest post why you are making so many cookies, but I now know why. So nice of you took for the kids, too. I know they appreciate it. Best wishes, Tammy

Lori said...

Just looked you up on IG and Pinterest! I love stuffed shells and one of the things I like most about them is that there are so many variations and you can pick and choose what you want. I do a ground chicken mixture with spinach, mushrooms, red pepper, green onions and garlic. I use herb and garlic cream cheese to bond the mixture together and usually use a bottled marinara ~ so good! It won't be long now before you are a Grandma!