Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stuffed Shells!!! Without the icky poo ricotta!!!

I tackled a recipe that I have always avoided because most of the stuffed shells I have seen have ricotta cheese. Now some people enjoy the taste of ricotta but I absolutely can not get down with the mushy stuff. So I set out to develop a recipe that included cheese, just not the ricotta kind. So alas I came up with my own and after nearly jumping in the oven because it smelled so delicious, I deemed it a success. DH doesn't eat much pasta but he ate a good bit of this. Hope you all enjoy!

Stuffed Shells
18-24 jumbo pasta shells
1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg...beaten
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
1 small diced onion
1 garlic clove... diced
8 oz can of tomato sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Bring a nice size pot of water to boiling and add 18 to 24 jumbo shells to the water. Salt and bring back to a boil. Cook for about 12-14 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK -> this will cause the shells to rip apart.
  • In the meantime brown your turkey/ground beef along with EVOO, one turn of the pan, with the onions and garlic. Break up into crumbles as the mixture cooks.
  • In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese, Italian bread crumbs, and the beaten egg. Set aside.
  • Once the meat mixture is complete, drain, and combine with the mozzarella mixture being sure to incorporate all the ingredients well. The cheese will begin to melt which is fine.
  • Drain your shells and allow to cool for just a bit.
  • Combine your pasta sauce and tomato sauce together and pour about 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Place your shells on top of the mixture and begin to stuff with the mozzarella mixture.
  • Pour the remaining sauce on top of the shells, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and back 20-25 minutes until bubbly!
  • Take out and serve with salad! EnJoY!

1. You may incorporate some fresh herbs into your meat mixture or a dried Italian seasoning blend if you prefer.
2. This recipe freezes well~you can make it ahead of time and reheat when ever you need it!
3. Make sure to boil a few extra shells just in case some break.
4. If you have extra of the meat mixture, feel free to sprinkle this around the shells.
5. If you like ricotta cheese you can eliminate the mozzarella and add the ricotta instead.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sloppy Joe's with class.....

Being that hubby and I made the switch to ground turkey instead of ground beef a few months ago, I have had to reinvent ways to make this tasty. For those of you who have never cooked with ground turkey, it is no doubt different. If you are looking for that lovely, slick grease that beef creates in the bottom of the pan, you won't find it! Its a fairly healthy option and it sits lighter in your system. So there is my unpaid service announcement for the wonders of ground turkey.

Now on to the recipe!

I decided to make Sloppy Joe's aka Manwich sandwiches...whatever you prefer. Now if you like the mix in the can go for it, but it gives me crazy heartburn so I decided to concoct my own variation sans the heartburn. So I hope you all enjoy it! Hubby loved it and quickly demolished....not ate....but killed three sandwiches so I must have hit something on the head here.


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil EVOO
1 lb of ground turkey or beef
14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 medium onion choped or diced (depends on how you like your onion's presentation)
3 tbsp light brown sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp steak seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 pack of burger rolls
Cheddar Cheese for topping

1. Heat the EVOO on medium high heat and add the turkey or beef being sure to crumble it as it browns. Cook for until half way done and then add the onions. Cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2. While the meat and onions are cooking, in a large mixing bowl combine the salt, pepper, all spices, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. MIx until well incorporated. Taste to see if you want to add anything.

3. If using beef, drain your meat from the grease and return to pan. If using turkey you do not need to drain unless you want to.
4. Pour the sauce over the meat and simmer for 5-7 minutes to combine the flavors.

5. When ready to serve, place on buns, top with cheddar cheese and ENJOY!

No pointers for this one other than the more brown sugar, the sweeter the sauce. You may need to adjust to your liking.