Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Stuffed Shells with Ricotta & Spinach

Hello and Happy Monday!

I feel like I don’t cook as much in the summer…or maybe it’s that we grill out more often in the summer months…? but…

I was digging through my recipe box last week, and stumbled upon this recipe that I hadn’t made in forever. I’m not sure where I got the recipe, but I’ve had it for years, so I thought I’d share.

Ingredients:

  • 20-25 Jumbo shell pasta, cooked
  • 1- 24 oz jar of Marinara
  • 2- 15 oz containers of Ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups of baby spinach, rough chop
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  • Turn on oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool under water.
  • Spread most of the Marinara sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • In a bowl, combine the Ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Spoon the mixture into shells and place them on top of the sauce.
  • Drizzle the remaining Marinara sauce on top and then sprinkle the Mozzarella on top.
  • Bake, until the shells are heated through, 10-12 minutes.
  • Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until the cheese begins to brown, 2-4 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
I was almost finished filling the shells, but here’s the mixture in the bowl.

I squeezed 25 shells in the pan!

Almost ready for the oven (add Marinara and Mozz.)
Getting their bake on…
Ready to eat!
Dinner is served.

I’ve never done it, but I’m sure you could incorporate browned sausage, chicken, etc into the mix to make the shells a bit heartier with protein.

I hope this is a recipe you’ll enjoy.

Have a great week.

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Pizza Pork Chops with Orzo

Hello! How was your weekend? Like the past few weekends, we had a good mix of productivity and laziness. The weekend weather felt like a glimpse of summer, for sure!

I was looking through my recipe box, which I don’t do very often, and I stumbled upon a meal I hadn’t made in awhile. It’s so easy, delicious, and a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped onion (about half a small onion…or more if you prefer!)
  • 1 jar Marinara sauce
  • 0rzo pasta
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  • Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the onions over the top of the pork chops.
  • Pour Marinara sauce over the pork chops and onions.
  • Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
  • When ready to eat, cook Orzo pasta according to package directions.
  • Place pasta on plate (or in bowl), the scoop out desired amount of pork chops and sauce. (*Note- meat is so tender that it will fall apart.)
  • Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese (and some chopped fresh basil if you have some)
  • Enjoy!

I’d forgotten how easy and delicious this dinner is! We even had leftovers the next night!

We have one more full week of distance learning! #praisehands So…I’m go get my mind right for this week!

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday. Well, we made it through a very different kind of week. I went to school two days while working from home the other two days. We started getting into somewhat of a “home schooling” routine. Full disclosure: still trying to find the balance in it all while navigating these uncharted waters.

I’m still finding the joy in keeping a blogging routine. Who knows…maybe I will be able to blog more than just three times a week with the extra downtime? That being said, not much action going on around here, so I’m afraid I may run out of content! Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Like usual, I’m linking up with Andrea, Narci, and Erika. (**These ladies may have altered their blogging schedules, but feel free to check out their blogs and posts too!)

Favorite Kid Quote

Hadley is kind of known for being excessive. For example, pouring a large amount of orange juice only to drink a few sips. Or filling her bowl the the brim with ice cream and eating it all…(of course!) but then I have to remind her that dessert every night shouldn’t be supersized. Or wearing 7 scrunchies on her wrist at once (I let this one slide! πŸ˜‰

The other night, she was getting herself some ice cream, and I asked her to put a few scoops in a bowl for me. When she brought me the bowl and showed me her bowl, it was the correct amount a dessert should be!

She said, β€œI’ve been making the perfect size scoops of ice cream lately. I’m so good that I could work at Baskin Robbins!” haha

Another sweet moment…Not necessarily a quote, but Hadley’s Girl Scout meeting was canceled. Her leader invited everyone to meet via the Zoom app. They had about a half hour meeting, and it was so good for all their sweet little souls. They talked about missing school and each other as well as other thoughts and feelings about our current situation. Thank goodness for technology during these trying and isolating times.

Favorite Pic

Well, I never got to Dairy Queen for Homer’s birthday ice cream…but I did remember we had these individual vanilla party cups in our freezer. So, we lit a candle for the Homster and let him have his ice cream.

Favorite Clothing Item

Currently…my pjs during this work from home situation! Although, I have made it a point to work out or go for a walk every day this week.

Favorite Food

I usually do grocery pick up, but last Saturday I had lots of time on my hands. I was afraid if I placed on online order, I’d get the text saying many things were out of stock. So, I wandered the aisles for essentials and easy meals.

Travis makes this pasta every once in awhile. We had it on Monday night with leftovers for Tuesday.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Turkey sausage (or whatever kind you like)
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Boil the pasta according to directions.
  • Dice the peppers and saute in olive oil until soft. **I also had garlic on hand, so we diced a few cloves and let it cook with the peppers.
  • Cut sausage into small rounds, and brown with the peppers.
  • Then, add in the sauce and heat until warm.
  • Add the sauce mixture to drained cooked pasta.
  • Serve in bowls and garnish with grated or shredded parm!

Also, I’m making the baked chicken recipe on Sunday that I shared in Monday’s post.

Favorite Moment

My dad was able to visit for a few days. It’s always good to see him. Literally, the day he arrived is when they announced churches and schools should close. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have made the trip right now. Unfortunately, we had a visit from my mom and grandma soon that has to be rescheduled.

He always wants a pic of him with the kids in birth order πŸ˜‰ on the steps of my front porch.

The past couple of years he has chosen to visit this time of the year to enjoy the corned beef and cabbage I always make. So, we gave him the You are Special plate for our Sunday St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Favorite Activities

Well, our normal school, dance, and baseball activities are on hold for now.

But….we are getting the hang of online learning. The kids were on their chrome books, and Homer wanted an education too πŸ˜‰

Favorite Mom Meme(s)

Oh…the coronavirus memes have been on point. We have to laugh, so we don’t cry (or go crazy!), don’t we?!

haha!
Spoiler alert: I was the teacher, and Hayden and Hadley were the students!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

As always, thank goodness for Facebook memories. These two pics popped up recently. I love the pic of Hayden in Trav’s old “Travis” shirt, and I clearly remember the day I took this pic of Hadley. She was in the 2nd grade, and I had just picked her up from after school care. She’s not really a “girly” girl in regards to clothing, but she was rocking the pink on this day!

Make sure to check out my other posts from this week πŸ™‚ I mean, what else do you have to do? (just kidding!)

As always, thank you for reading. It’s such an unprecedented time right now, and keeping a routine and some light hearted blogging has helped me keep a sense of normalcy.

We are all in this together, y’all. ❀️

Have a great weekend.

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Uncategorized

Monday Meals: Pasta Dinner x 2

Happy Monday! The weekend seemed to fly by! The sun was shining all weekend, and it felt like a taste of spring!

Last Monday, I made both of these pasta meals for my family. I had picked up the gnocchi a few weeks ago and needed to use it. Since I was uncertain if the kids would like it, I decided to make them bow tie pasta with Alfredo sauce because I knew they loved it. A couple of months ago, I bought jarred Alfredo on a whim and made this quick pasta (the second recipe) and they scarfed it down. Believe it or not, but I think it’s the first time they’d had Alfredo sauce! They thought I was the best mom ever. haha

That being said, I’m no short order cook; the kids eat what I make them for dinner…like it or not. But, I knew these were quick dishes, and they would provide leftovers for Tuesday night, so went ahead and made both.

Gnocchi and Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • Trader Joe’s Three Cheese Pasta Sauce (or any marinara sauce)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • Shaved Parm (or grated)

Instructions:

  • Bring pot of water to boil, add a heavy pinch of salt, and follow instructions for cooking the gnocchi. (Only a few minutes in the boiling water)
  • Brown the sausage in a skillet. (I browned it all and used 3/4 of it for the gnocchi recipe and the other 1/4 for the Alfredo recipe)
  • Once the sausage is browned, drain any grease.
  • Add in sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add cooked gnocchi into the sauce and stir to incorporate ingredients.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
  • Enjoy!

Chicken, Bacon, Sausage in Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or any shaped pasta)
  • Jar of Alfredo Sauce
  • 4-5 slices bacon (Short cut: microwave bacon)
  • Chicken (Short cut: Perdue Carved Chicken Breast strips)
  • Cooked Italian Sausage (if desired)
  • Grated Parm (or shaved Parm—I just know my kids love grated parm)

Instructions:

  • Bring pot of water to boil, add heavy pinch of salt, and cook according to directions.
  • Cook the bacon in the microwave according to directions and then chop into small pieces.
  • Cut the chicken strips into desired bite size and set aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan, heat up Alfredo Sauce.
  • Add in chicken and warm it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in cooked pasta and bacon. (and sausage if you’d like–that wasn’t a part of my original plan–but since I had the leftover sausage from meal 1, I decided to use that 1/4 lb because I knew the kids would like it)
  • Stir to incorporate ingredients.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
  • Enjoy!
  • Also, last time I made this, I added frozen peas to it when I incorporated the pasta into the sauce–my kids love peas!

I could have added chopped parsley to both for a finishing touch, but I’m not a professional! haha

Also, side note: The Perdue Chicken Breasts (or similar brand) are something I use often. I add the chicken to my bagged salads for lunch or dinner, I cut the chicken strips into bite size pieces to use for chicken quesadillas, and obviously I also use the chicken in pasta dishes as well.

As a busy working mom with two busy kids, I do still like to make dinner as often as possible…but I also like to make something my family will enjoy as quickly as possible!

I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Have a great week!

Jen

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