April 21, 2014

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

To be honest, I had never had stuffed shells of any kind before I made these so I'm not sure how they compare to others, but they were a hit at our house.
I was surprised at how easy these were to put together and was rather impressed with the finished product.
I'm sure these will be put on our regular recipe rotation from now on when I'm not in the mood to make something new. 

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Adapted from: Cooking Classy
20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
2-3 cups fresh spinach, chopped and cooked until just wilted
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic, finely minced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, finely shredded, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 cups marinara, spaghetti or pizza sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, using a fork, blend together Ricotta cheese and egg. Stir in basil, thyme and garlic. Add 1 cup mozzarella and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Toss mixture to combine. Mix in prepared spinach. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spread 1/3 cup marinara sauce into an even layer along bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Stuff each cooked pasta shell with about 2 Tbsp. of cheese mixture. Align shells in baking dish side by side, with the opening of shells facing upright. (I did 5 rows of 4 shells each.)
4. Cover shells evenly with remaining marinara sauce then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
5. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm.                 

April 18, 2014

Oreo Pudding Poke Cake

I'd like to introduce you guys to one of my new favorite cakes. Or maybe my favorite cake since I can't really think of any other favorites...Anyway, I have always been obsessed with cookies 'n cream anything so this cake is right up my alley.

My little boy turned 2 a couple of weeks ago and this is the cake I made for his family birthday party.
It is moist, creamy and has the perfect amount of cookie crunch on top. It's SO easy to put together, too. Definitely a winner in my book.

Oreo Pudding Poke Cake
Source: The Country Cook
1 box chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients needed to make cake)
2 (4 oz.) packages of instant Oreo pudding (I was only able to find this at Wal-Mart)
4 cups milk
2-3 cups of Oreo cookies, crushed

1. Combine cake mix according to box instructions and pour into a well-greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake as instructed on box.
2. Just before the cake is done, combine the pudding and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk for about 2 minutes until lumps are gone. Let mixture sit for about 2 minutes more. (You'll want the pudding to slightly thicken.)
3. When cake is done and still warm, remove from oven and poke holes about 1 inch apart using a wooden spoon handle or straw.
4. Pour pudding mixture over warm cake until it is completely covered. Spread pudding with a spatula to make an even layer.
5. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour until completely cooled. (Make sure to place on hot pads.)
6. Once cooled, top with crushed Oreos and enjoy!

April 16, 2014

Oven Baked Steak Fries

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for a few years now and can't believe I've never shared it before. 

I am a fry girl through and through, but "fried" fries usually make me sick and well, aren't good for you.

This is my sure-fire way to indulge in some fries and not feel bad if I almost eat the entire pan, which is usually the case.

Anyway, be sure to use these as a side the next time you make a burger or grill some chicken and you'll have yourself the perfect "summer" meal. Also, don't forget to serve them with a side of fry sauce aka ketchup + mayo for those of you who live outside of Utah. ;)

Oven Baked Steak Fries
2 large russet potatoes, washed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix spices in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in olive oil and combine well.
3. Cut each potato into wedges/fries. (I usually get about 50-70 small fries out of each potato.)
4. Add potato wedges into seasoning/oil bowl and toss until coated.
5. Pour wedges into a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.