Stuffed Pasta Shells

This is a very easy meal to prepare. If you cut out a corner of a plastic baggie and use this to pipe in the filling, it takes no time at all. I usually serve this with meat added to the spaghetti sauce, but this could easily be omitted to make this a meatless meal. These also freeze up well. What I plan on doing today is to fill each shell and then flash freeze about 1/2 of the shells before adding the sauce for use later (since I’m only cooking for 4 today).

Stuffed Pasta Shells
Serves: 8

16 ounces jumbo pasta shells
4 cups cottage cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs — lightly beaten
1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
  2. Mix together cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and garlic powder. Rub the dried herbs in the palms of your hands to pulverize them, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells.
  3. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 15 x 10 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Soaking Beans

I’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic disorder called diverticulosis. New dietary recommendations are to eat a high fiber diet to help with this problem. Since beans are high in fiber and nutrients, I’ve been adding them to my diet slowly. However, beans can have an unpleasant side effect. Beano helps. My mother told me to soak my dried beans before cooking them to help nip that “problem” in the bud. I had heard that tip was an old wives tale. But after reading this article, I will never skip this step again. Apparently beans release a toxin (red kidney beans release the most) that can cause some very serious illness.

My tip: Always soak your dried beans before cooking and never cook dried red kidney beans in a slow cooker (use canned). I hope this spares others from any “problems”.

Pork Onion Casserole

I found my camera! But now I can’t find my camera cord. So I have pictures to upload whenever I find it, including a picture of this yummy dinner.  Since I don’t, you’ll just have to use your imagination. LOL

Pork Onion Casserole

4  center cut pork chops, bone in for more flavor
1 can beef broth
1 tsp beef flavored soup flavoring (or beef bouillon)
1 can water
4 oz can mushrooms pieces
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
4 thick onion slices

Sauté pork chops on stove until well browned. Combine rice, mushrooms, broth, flavoring and water. Pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. Place chops on  top of rice mixture and put a slice of onion on top of each. Bake at 350 for appx. 1 hr & 15 minutes

This is very flavorful. I hope you enjoy it.

Game Day Snacks: Dried Chipped Beef Cheeseball/Candy Buckeyes

Jen at Frugal Upstate is asking for football game day snacks. Saturdays in the fall are Ohio State Football days. We love to watch the Buckeyes play football. They aren’t playing as well as I’d like this season but around here we still say…..Go Bucks! The following snacks are good to have around during the game, in fact, they are traditional in this house!

Dried Chipped Beef Cheeseball

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 small OR 1 large package dried chipped beef, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Accent® seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients. Form into a ball. Serve with Ritz crackers.

Candy Buckeyes
3 lbs. powdered sugar
3 cups peanut butter (2-12 oz jars plain or crunchy—we use plain)
1 lb butter, softened to room temperature
2-12 oz packages chocolate chips
1/4 bar parafin wax
Mix the powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter thoroughly (use a sturdy mixer for this, the dough is very stiff). Roll in balls the size of buckeyes (about 1-2″ diameter). Set aside.
In double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and parafin wax. Using a toothpick to hold onto, dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate, leaving about 1/4 of the ball uncoated. Set on foil lined tray to set up. This recipe makes a lot of “buckeyes”. Extras can be frozen, in fact they are yummy to eat straight from the freezer, trust me, I KNOW this!

Fresh Tomatoes/Tomato Soup

My tomatoes are ready to harvest! However, they are so small. I only planted roma tomatoes this year and for some reason, I had a lot of blossom-end rot. I’ve since learned why that has happened and I will remedy this for next year, but I have to work with what I’ve got this year. I had hoped to make salsa with my tomatoes, but the tomatoes that are usable are so very small.

My solution? The crockpot! I halved and/or quartered the tomatoes, even the cherry tomatoes that I harvested and placed them in my crockpot. I did not add any water, but the tomatoes were damp because I had them rinsed off and sitting in a bowl of water while I cut them up. They cooked on very low overnight. I awoke to a kitchen that smelled like tomato soup and coffee. Sounds strange, but it was quite a yummy, cozy smell. I am fortunate to have a food mill, so I ran the tomatoes through that and came out with about 8 cups of fresh tomato sauce. I added about a teaspoon of sugar and cooked it down on the stovetop till thickened, ending up with about 6 cups of sauce. Oh, my, the smell was heavenly. Made me have a hankering for tomato soup.

I’ve never made fresh tomato soup, but I thought I could figure it out. I simmered about a tablespoon of freshly minced onion in a blob of butter till softened. To that I added about 1 tsp of garlic powder and a pinch of salt. I spooned about 1 cup of that fresh tomato sauce and 1 cup of milk. This simmered for about 5 minutes and then I added a sprinkling of dried basil. This was good, but something was missing. On a whim, I added a pinch or so of chicken bouillon granules to the soup and let it simmer a bit longer. This was enough to make this soup absolutely delicious. I’m having this with a grilled cheese sandwich for lungh. Yummmmm!

(I regret that I can’t find my camera cord, or I’d have a picture of this to share).