MUSHY PEA RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS

MUSHY PEA RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS

These mushy pea and ricotta stuffed shells are a TRUE comfort food for a crisp fall evening!

18 to 20 JUMBO shells
1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
3/4 cup mushy peas – from leftovers preferably
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese + extra for garnish
2 LARGE garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound QUALITY sweet Italian sausage
1/2 pound LEAN ground beef
3-4 green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more for the pasta water
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 cups homemade tomato marinara sauce (you can use jarred sauce, but we prefer homemade from the garden)

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta shells for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little avocado oil to keep them from sticking together.
  • Brown sweet Italian sausage, ground beef and green onions until meat is cooked through and crumbly. Drain off grease well!
  • In a large bowl, combine the mushy peas with the ricotta, pecorino, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Spread the marinara in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Stuff each shell with the filling and place in the dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is browned and bubbly.
  • Serve with more marinara on the side.

NOTE: This recipe freezes well for an easy weeknight meal!

  • After assembling the shells in the baking dish, cover tightly and freeze.
  • To thaw, transfer the dish to the fridge about 10 hours before you plan to serve it.
  • Remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats.
  • Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, or until thawed and warmed through.

CHICKEN CAPRESE PASTA BOWLS

CHICKEN CAPRESE PASTA serves 8

12 ounces dry penne pasta
1 cup prepared alfredo sauce (homemade or store bought – your choice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped basil

1/2 – 1 cup arugula
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup FINELY chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup mozzarella balls
2 cups cooked shredded rotisserie chicken breast for a quick meal OR 1 breaded chicken cutlet that’s been pan seared for the best flavor if you have the time

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large skillet over warm heat.

  • Stir in pasta sauce, rotisserie chicken pieces, tomatoes, basil pieces, Parmesan cheese and pepper pieces. If using a breaded chicken cutlet prepare it so that it is ready to be sliced just as the baking dish comes out of the oven.
  • Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish and top evenly with Mozzarella balls.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted.

  • Toss with arugula and a squeeze of lemon JUST before serving.

CREAMY PARMESAN CHICKEN & PROSCIUTTO


1 + 2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 pieces prosciutto
1-2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup FRESH small green peas
1 teaspoon red chile flakes, crushed
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 LARGE lemon, juiced
2 cups penne pasta
1/4 cup FRESH chopped Italian Leaf parsley
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup FINELY shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add pasta cook al dente, 9-11 minutes.
  • Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • In a large skillet add a drizzle of oil over medium high heat. Add prosciutto slices in a single layer, cooking 2-3 minutes per side until crispy. Do not clean pan.
  • Drain on paper toweling.
  • Pat chicken dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper and crushed red chile flakes.
  • Add butter to skillet.
  • When melted add garlic sauteing 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken steaks sauteing 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through.
  • Transfer chicken to cutting board.
  • Whisk flour into drippings.
  • Add cream cheese and heavy cream to skillet, whisking to combine.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add lemon juice and parsley, stirring to blend.
  • Add pasta and peas, folding in to coat, cooking a couple minutes until warmed through.
  • Slice chicken breasts into strips.
  • Plate pasta.
  • Top with chicken slices, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese.

RECIPE REVIEW
TASTE: Creamy and full of rich flavor.
TEXTURE: Al dente noodles and crispy chicken in a creamy sauce are the star of this meal.
EASE: Easy to Moderate.
APPEARANCE: Appetizing and visually appealing.
PROS: Great meal for company.
CONS: None that I found!
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? DEFINITELY Yes.

SKILLET PASTA with VODKA SAUCE

SKILLET PASTA with VODKA SAUCE
1 bunch green onions or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vodka pasta sauce, homemade or jarred – your choice
3 cups homemade beef stock
12 ounces penne pasta
1/4 cup chopped marinated sun-dried tomato pieces
1/2-3/4 cup quartered marinated mozzarella balls
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • Coat 12 inch non-stick skillet with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use my heavy enameled cast iron crock pot skillet.
  • Heat over medium-high heat.
  • Add beef, sweet Italian sausage, most of the green onions (save some for garnish), FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper to taste, cooking 8-10 minutes and breaking up the meat into small crumbles until meat is cooked through.
  • Add garlic and stir 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Drain the meat and discard the grease.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the sauce and water to skillet. Bring to boil.
  • Add pasta and red pepper flakes.
  • Cover 10-12 minutes and cook JUST until tender.
  • Stir in meat and remaining sauce, cooking a couple minutes to heat through.
  • Gently fold in Mozzarella ball pieces.
  • Top with scallions and serve immediately.

CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA

CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA yields 2-3 servings

4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast steaks
2+ teaspoons Cajun seasoning (SLAP YO MOMMA) (+/- according to your heat level)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced

1 LARGE red bell pepper, half sliced thin and half small chopped
+/- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets

4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2-3 green onions, minced
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon dried basil (FRESH is better, but not necessary)
1/3 cup FRESH chopped Italian parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Juice of a SMALL lemon
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

 Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.
  • Season chicken with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Coat chicken with Cajun seasoning.


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Saute chicken 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest.
  • Add bell pepper, garlic,  sliced mushrooms and green onions; cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Slice chicken into bite sized strips.
  • Add heavy cream, basil, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper blending well.


  • Fold in chicken pieces and lemon juice and adjust seasonings to taste.
  • In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce.
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Serve with cornbread.

CALABRIAN CHILE TOMATO SAUCE

Every now and then we like to spice up a red sauce and just eat plain pasta with it. No veggies. No proteins. Just a good handmade pasta and full bodied spicy sauce! YUMMY! 😀

CALABRIAN CHILE TOMATO SAUCE
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, FINELY diced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons Calabrian chile paste
1/4 cup water
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons Marscarpone cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Prepared pasta of choice, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add tomato paste and chile, stirring to blend well for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and water.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper and cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
  • Fold in prepared pasta and add as much of the pasta water as necessary to reach your desired consistency.
  • Turn off heat and add Marscarpone cheese, blending well.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

CALABRIAN CHILE CHICKEN PASTA

CALABRIAN CHILE CHICKEN PASTA adapted from Blue Apron

Avocado oil
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 shallot, small diced
2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
1/2 pound Bucatini Pasta, prepared per package directions reserving 1 cup pasta water
1 ounce Castelvetrano Olives, diced (optional-hubby loves, I don’t)
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Calabrian Chile paste
1 zucchini, halved and sliced (optional-hubby hates)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Heat avocado oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the sliced zucchini (if using) in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes more, stirring frequently until softened. Transfer to a plate.
  • Wipe out the pan and add 1-2 tablespoons more avocado oil and heat over medium high heat.
  • Pat the chicken dry.
  • In a large ziplock bag add wonder flour, Italian seasoning and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Shake to mix.
  • Add chicken breasts and shake to coat. Shake off excess dredging.
  • Add the seasoned chicken to the hot oil, cooking 4-5 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through.
  • Leave any browned bits in the pan, transfer chicken to a cutting board.
  • When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise.
  • In the same pan, heat a drizzle of avocado oil on medium-high until hot.
  • Add the chopped shallot, chopped garlic, and as much of the chile paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Add the cooked pasta, lemon juice, Mascarpone cheese, browned zucchini (if using), chopped olives, and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is well coated. If necessary, gradually add the remaining cooking water to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Serve the finished pasta topped with the sliced chicken.
  • Garnish with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy!

NOTE: To make your own Italian seasoning use +/- equal parts of these dried seasonings, to taste: Basil, Sage, Oregano, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme & Marjoram.

 

SHRIMP SCAMPI PASTA

SHRIMP SCAMPI PASTA

Shrimp Scampi always sounds a bit decadent and eat out at a restaurant date night meal to me, but is a super easy to make at home.

The prep time is only 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of cook time and VOILA’ dinner is ready. Light the candles and serve.

1/2 package (8 ounces) linguine pasta
1 + 1 tablespoons butter
1 + 1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 shallot, FINELY diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes (Optional)
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
¼ cup dry white wine
1 small lemon, juiced
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook linguine in boiling water until nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain.


  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook and stir shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the hot butter and oil until shallots are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Season shrimp with kosher salt and black pepper; add to the skillet and cook JUST until pink, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove shrimp from skillet and keep warm.


  • Pour white wine and lemon juice into skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon avocado oil into butter mixture, and bring to a simmer.
  • Toss linguine, shrimp, and parsley in the butter mixture until coated.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil to serve.


BROKEN aka SKILLET aka C.O.R.N. LASAGNA

BROKEN aka SKILLET aka C.O.R.N. LASAGNA
12 ounces of your favorite pasta or tortellini or a combo of both
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1-2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken pieces
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, FINELY diced
3 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
1 cup beef or chicken broth
2 cups marinara homemade sauce (jar sauce is good in a pinch)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup FRESH grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup FRESH grated QUALITY Parmesan cheese
12-15 basil leaves, chiffonaded

  • Prepare pasta and/or tortellini per package directions.
  • In a LARGE skillet or saute pan heat the oil to sizzling.
  • Add hamburger and brown to ALMOST done.
  • Add carrots and onions, continuing to saute until browned and carrots are soft. Drain off any excess fat as necessary.
  • Add garlic and saute a minute or two more.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add red pepper flakes.
  • Add broth, marinara sauce and chicken pieces. Simmer 10-15 minutes until the sauce slightly reduces to your desired consistency.
  • Fold in ricotta cheese, mozzarella, basil and pasta, heating through 2-3 minutes more.
  • Toss to combine.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese and some basil.

NOTE: This is the perfect dish to clean out your crisper drawer and/or pasta bins.

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD ~ FAITH and FOOD FRIDAY #6

I’m still featuring my Mary & Martha GRACE meal prayer box on Faith and Food Friday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER:

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
2 cups dry rotini pasta
1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed and halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
1 LARGE shallot, small diced
1/4 cup FRESH chopper parsley
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced or rough grated
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, diced (optional)
3 tablespoons tarragon rice vinegar (or flavor of choice)
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  • Whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Italian dressing, mustard (if using), salt and pepper until emulsified.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss cooled pasta, snap peas, shallots, Parsley, artichoke heart pieces and chicken pieces together.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over and toss again.
  • Fold in tomatoes and cheese, tossing to coat well.
  • Chill several hours before serving.

F3 FAITH & FOOD FRIDAY #3 ~ TEX MEX a.k.a. MEXICAN MANICOTTI ~ BEEF or CHICKEN

I’m still featuring my Mary & Martha GRACE meal prayer box on Faith and Food Friday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER:

Some days are busy- we have lots of things to do, and we might not always take a break just to stop and talk to God. But most of us still find the time to eat even when we’re very busy. Taking time to pray before our meals gives us a great opportunity to connect with God. Next time you have a really busy day, enjoy a few minutes in prayer with God before your meal.

CHICKEN MEXICAN MANICOTTI
1 box Uncooked manicotti shells
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups salsa, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce, as desired
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook manicotti per package directions, al dente.
  • In a medium bowl combine the chicken pieces, 3/4 cup salsa, parsley, most of the green onions, garlic, hot sauce and ricotta cheese.
  • Spread half of the remaining salsa on the bottom of baking dish.
  • Gently fill manicotti shells with chicken mixture and layer on top of salsa in baking dish in a single layer.
  • Spread the remaining salsa on top of manicotti.
  • Cover and bake 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle shredded Mexican cheese over top.
  • Bake 10 minutes more.
  • Garnish with remaining green onion and olives.
  • Serve with sour cream.

BEEF MEXICAN MANICOTTI
1 box Uncooked manicotti shells
2 cups browned ground beef
1 1/2 cups salsa, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce, as desired
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook manicotti per package directions, al dente.
  • In a medium bowl combine the chicken pieces, 3/4 cup salsa, parsley, most of the green onions, garlic, hot sauce and ricotta cheese.
  • Spread half of the remaining salsa on the bottom of baking dish.
  • Gently fill manicotti shells with chicken mixture and layer on top of salsa in baking dish in a single layer.
  • Spread the remaining salsa on top of manicotti.
  • Cover and bake 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle Mexican cheese over top.
  • Bake 10 minutes more.
  • Garnish with remaining green onion and olives if desired.
  • Serve with sour cream.

FRENCH ONION MANICOTTI

This is the French onion soup you eat with a fork! Caramelizing the onions takes the longest, but is the savoriest part of this meal! Don’t try to rush this process or you’ll ruin that cheesy goodness that will give you your comfy, cozy meal for a cold winter’s night!

FRENCH ONION MANICOTTI serves 4-6 depending on appetite
4 sweet Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 box manicotti shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 ½ cups chicken stock
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese, for topping
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, for topping
FRESH parsley or thyme for topping

  • Melt butter in a large cast iron (or oven safe) skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions.
  • Sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper, sugar and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes until the onions caramelize, BUT watch them closely so they don’t burn! Turn down the heat as necessary.
  • Once caramelized, add garlic, sauteing 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat, but leave them in the pan.

  • While the onions are cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the manicotti shells 6 minutes to al dente’. Drain and carefully place them on a piece of foil coated in non stick spray to cool.

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg, Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt, pepper and dried thyme.
  • Add half of the caramelized onions from the pan and stir them into the ricotta mixture to create your filling.
  • Fill each shell with the filling, stuffing it full, but not overflowing.

  • Turn the heat to medium-low under the remaining onions in the pan.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Slowly stream in the stock while stirring, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes while the mixture thickens a bit. Stir in the cream.
  • Turn off the heat and place the shells in the french onion sauce.
  • Melt the butter and whisk in the breadcrumbs with a fork until evenly coated.
  • Top with the Mozzarella cheese followed by the breadcrumbs mixture.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately with a Parmesan and fresh herb garnish.

NOTE: I often add chopped sun dried tomatoes.