Sunday, March 20, 2011

good fellas

Whenever I ask the carnivore what he wants for dinner as I am planning out the week's menus, I inevitably get two answers - steak and Italian. See, he always wants steak (what good carnivore doesn't?), and there isn't a day that ends in "y" that Italian doesn't sound like a good idea to him. The great news for vegetarians like me out there who have to cook for carnivores, is that Italian fare is easy to fix for everyone.

Recently, we had these stuffed shells. Now, you can easily make your own filling, but I'm not gonna lie and tell you it isn't any work. It is. And if you are up for it, you can find a good recipe here. However, if you have a lot on your plate already - say a ten month old who has just discovered the dogs' food and water bowls are lots of fun - well, then don't fell bad about taking the easy way out. Buy yourself some pre-stuffed frozen shells. We have a few great local Italian stores here that we can get the real thing (probably better than I could do actually) in ready to go packs. Most grocery stores sell them too.

Once you have your shells ready, the rest is easy. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a large glass baking dish and coat the bottom with olive oil. Place your shells right in. We used two packages - or about 16 good sized shells. Then douse them with your favorite sauce. Again, you can go homemade here or just grab a good jar. This night we had a wonderful tomato basil blend from Newman's organics. Now, depending on how saucy you like your shells you may want more than one jar. We just used one. I then took a box of frozen chopped spinach and defrosted it in the microwave. I dusted the shells with about half of the package. Finally, I covered the shells with a mix of shredded mozzarella and provolone. I cooked them covered with foil for about 25 minutes and then uncovered for 5 to 10 more.

Once they were bubbling, we plated the pasta parcels of ricotta and herbs with a few spoons of extra sauce and a sprinkle of grated parmesan. The carnivore may have scooted most of his spinach to the side, but at least he got a few bites of something green! In the meantime, we both got a meal - and plenty of leftovers - that we enjoyed. I'm tellin' ya these fellas were good!

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