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ENTREES/ Italian/ Pasta

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

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By Mrs. Kossenfloffer Serves: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour

Truth be told, stuffed shells has never really been my thing. Mostly because I always thought it need more flavor. So, the filling in these includes fresh spinach and artichokes and copious amounts of garlic. When making the filling, don't go all bananas measuring. Taste it before you put the egg in to see if it packs enough punch for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 box pasta shells, cooked al dente (pull them out of water about 2 minutes shy of cooking time on box)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (maybe a little more )
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, divided, shredded on a box grater (I like to shred it myself, I feel like the preshredded doesn't get as melty)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of spinach, roughly chopped, cooked and drained (you can saute in a little oil or cheat and toss with olive oil and micowave for a bit)
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups marinara sauce (jarred or homemade)
  • Fresh Italian parsley or basil, chopped for garnish
  • Extra Parmesan for serving

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2

Combine the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, spinach and artichokes in a large bowl and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper and taste it. Now add the egg.

3

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish with about 2 cups of the sauce.

4

Fill each cooked shell with about a tablespoon of filling and arrange on sauce. Sprinkle more mozzarella and Parmesan on top of shells and throw the rest of the sauce on there.

5

Cover with foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes until bubbly. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

6

I like to put it under the broiler for about 2 minutes at the end because I like a crunch top. But keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.

ENTREES/ Italian/ Uncategorized

Chick-schetta

A simple summer dish. This is so easy, there really isn’t even a recipe, but here goes….

Chick-schetta

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I am purposefully not giving amounts— this should be a low stress dish to make.

Ingredients

  • boneless chicken breasts (either sliced thin or pounded out)
  • herbs de provence
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped (see note)
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bunch blue kale, thick ribs removed, chopped and sauteed in olive oil until soft
  • 1 package gnocchi (fresh from the refrigerator section of you super market) sauteed according to package.

Instructions

1

Chop the tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped basil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and stir to combine. Set aside.

2

Coat the chicken with olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and herbs de provence.

3

Grill on both sides until cooked through. (You can also just saute them or use a grill pan on the stove)

4

Place the sauteed kale on a platter. Arrange the chicken on top of the kale and then top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle a touch of balsamic reduction on top. Serve with the gnocchi.

5

Dinner is served!

Notes

I didn't give amounts because you can add as much garlic, basil etc, as you like. I would estimate that you will need at least one tomato per serving. I made 3 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 6 pieces and I had about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.

ENTREES/ Italian/ Uncategorized

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I made this for the hubby and myself on a night when we just felt like renting a movie and staying in. It was a perfect choice for that sort of evening. We ate this as our dinner, but you could easily serve it as an impressive first course. Also, think of this recipe as more of a suggestion. You can stuff these with pretty much anything you find appealing. Let your creative juices flow.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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By Mrs. Kossenfloffer Serves: 3-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems and gills removed
  • 4 Italian sausages, removed from casings (I used sweet Italian chicken sausages)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or a little wine or even just water)
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 6-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 375.

2

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the mushrooms stem side down and the tomatoes on the sheet. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off some of their water. Remove from oven and set aside.

3

In a large pan, saute the sausage in olive oil until cooked through. Add the onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the panko over the top and stir to combine. Add the stock or wine or water just to moisten the mixture a bit. This just makes it easier to stuff the mushrooms. Add a few pepper flakes and parsley, mix and taste for seasoning. (If you let the mixture cool a bit, you can moisten it with a lightly beaten egg too — that never hurt anything.)

4

Flip the mushrooms over so they are gills side up. Place a generous mound of the filling on each cap. Top with a sprinkling of both cheeses. Place the mushrooms, along with the tomatoes, back in the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and top with basil and maybe some more parsley. If you like, serve with red sauce.

ENTREES

Chicken Zanar (with mushrooms and tomato sauce)

Chicken Zanar

(with mushrooms and sherry-tomato sauce)

My mother got this recipe from a friend and named it after her. It was a regular part of my mother’s dinner rotation and it’s no wonder.

Roasted chicken and mushrooms in a tomato sherry sauce.

Roasted chicken and mushrooms in a tomato sherry sauce.

The dish comes together pretty easily making it a rustic weeknight dinner. On the other hand, this rustic and flavorful chicken would make an impressive main course at your next dinner party. And if I do say so myself, this is one of those dishes that smells out of this world as it bakes. If you do prepare it for a party,  few torn basil leaves tossed on top would truly elevate this dish. Actually, a few torn basil leaves can elevate almost everything except certain flavors of ice cream. Enjoy.

And if you need sheet pans….

Chicken Zanar (with mushrooms and tomato sauce)

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By Mrs. Kossenfloffer Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 Cooking Time: 45

An easy meal to put together. Perfect for busy weeknights but impressive enough for company.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 1 pound baby bella or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh basil for garnish (totally optional)

Instructions

1

In a small bowl combine tomato sauce, sherry, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and olive oil.

2

Slice mushrooms and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

3

Nestle chicken prices between mushrooms. Pour tomato sauce mixture over the chicken and mushrooms and mix it all up with your hands so everything is coated with sauce. Sprinkle everything with kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

4

Roast for 45 minutes until the skin is crispy. Remove from oven. Place chicken and mushrooms on a platter and serve extra sauce in a gravy boat.

Notes

Serve with crusty French bread to mop up the sauce.