Sunday, November 14, 2010

cleaning house..

In all the insanity that goes along with being a mommy, a full time employee and a grad school student, I neglected to buy enough groceries to get us through 2 full weeks. Oops. But I refused to give in and head to the grocery store; I KNEW there was enough food in the cupboards, fridge and freezer I could put together in a few different ways to get us through the next week. A half a box of pasta shells inspired this recipe! Straight talk: I did have to buy the ricotta and the shredded mozzarella, but it's amazing how many excellent ingredients you can find in your own kitchen when you're desperate!

Stuffed Shells

1/2 box large pasta shells (about 20)
1 jar pasta sauce
15oz container ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2lb. ground beef or sausage
2/3 cup onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups finely minced spinach (use your food processor and mince fresh spinach or frozen works too)

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Brown ground meat, onion and garlic together. Drain the excess liquid. Stir in jar of pasta sauce.
Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
Pour half of the pasta sauce mixture into the bottom of a 13x9" square baking dish. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and arrange in the pan. Pour the remainder of the pasta sauce mixture over the stuffed shells.
Bake at 350 covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle the last cup of mozzarella cheese over the pasta and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going Retro on you...

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents. I was raised by a single mother who worked full time and went to school on the weekends. As a result, my Grandma prepared a lot of lunches and dinners for my sister and I. My Grandma is a good Midwestern Polish woman who defines a meal as "meat, potatoes and a canned vegetable on the side". To this day, meatloaf and potatoes or chicken and rice is my idea of perfect comfort food. As a tribute to my Grandma who defined more of my culinary landscape than I like to admit; here is a meatloaf recipe I guarantee you'll enjoy.

2 eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup for top

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs and 1/2 cup ketchup. Stir in bread crumbs, soup mix, pepper and garlic. Add meat and mix. Form into 8 loaves. arrange in a 15x10x1 foil lined pan. Bake until internal temp is 160. About 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon ketchup over meat loaf.

Much love,
Mama Cucina