Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who knows what day we are on now?

It is amazing how quickly a few days (weeks) can go by. Lots of exciting things happening in the Summy house these days. I will post details of the happenings at a later date but I will say now that I don't think I can juggle anything else right now. Life is just about as hectic as I would like it. So today I blinked and weeks 9 - 11 had come and gone and I have been super neglectful on the blogging. In fact I realized this past weekend that I am going to have to revamp the cooking challenge. Swimsuit season is quickly approaching and therefore diet season is upon us (again!). I don't know about you, bloggy friends, but I have put on a few pounds since I started this challenge. Not that my meals have been all too fattening, but they have just been delicious (tooting my own horn just a bit)! My family has rediscovered our love for eating (firsts and seconds of) delicious home-cooked meals and our waistlines are paying the price. So I am going to sum up the last couple of weeks of meals and then I will start fresh with my new challenge on the next post. The main change will be that the meals will have to obviously all fit in our diet so I don't think I can stick to the "something new and different every night" rule. It is hard enough to find diet food that is edible must less dealing with the added task of not repeating anything. But more on that later..... Lets finish up talking about some of these beauties the put me the condition that I am in!

Slow Cooker Pulled pork tacos
Giada's peanut butter granola bars
Spanish chicken and rice
Gina's Chicken Divan
Fusilli alla Caprese
Three Cheese Calzones
Garlic Pork with cilantro lime rice
BBQ pork tenderloin and homemade mac and cheese

Are you hungry? I sure am.... I started my diet today and just thinking about all of this food is making my mouth water like crazy.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos (Real Simple magazine)
I was heading out of town for a girls weekend and was able to load this little dish into the crock pot for Steve and the kids before I left town. I love the feeling of "cooking" dinner when you are not even home. It feels like something straight out of the Jetsons. "Modern" technology is so cool.

2 cups store bought salsa, plus more for serving
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (Yes! Cocoa...I thought that was so weird!)
Kosher salt
1 (2.5 lb) boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
18 corn tortillas
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 lime, cut into wedges

In a 4 to 6 quart crock pot, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and 1 tsp salt.
Add the pork and turn to coat.

Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
25 minutes before serving, heat the oven to 350º. Stack tortillas, wrap them in foil, and bake until warm, about 15 min.

Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred the pork and stir into the cooking liquid. Serve with the tortillas , cilantro, sour cream, lime, and extra salsa.

Giada's peanut butter granola bars
We had to go out on Thursday night so I wasn't able to cook a 5th meal for the week. So before I left town I whipped up a batch of these delicious beauties. A healthy snack for the road. Not sure it will count for a dinner, but it is a recipe nonetheless.

2 egg whites
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (if using splenda 2.5 TBSP)
1/4 cup honey
4 to 5 TBSP butter, melted
2.25 cups oats
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 almonds (optional for me as I don't do nuts)

Preheat to 350º. Spray pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and spray the paper. Beat egg white until frothy. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and butter and stir.
Add oats and chips (and almonds if desired).
Spread into prepared pan and bake about 20 min or until the top and edges are golden brown.

Spanish Chicken and Rice (Real Simple magazine)
This meal was only so-so for me. The wine gave it too strong of a flavor. I have heard chefs say that you should only cook with a good wine that you love because cooking really brings out the flavor. This recipe calls for Sauvignon Blanc and I am just not really a fan of that wine. If I cook this again, I will probably just substitute chicken stock for the wine.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2.5 inch pieces.
Kosher salt
1 med onion
1 green bell pepper sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, including liquid
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med heat.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook until golden brown, 2 min per side.

Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 min. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 min. Add the wine, tomatoes, and their liquid, rice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 20 min.
Stir the peas into the rice and chicken and cook, and sprinkle with the parsley.

Gina's Chicken Divan (Skinnytaste.com)
My friend Beka turned me on to skinnytaste.com and I immediately fell in love. This blog makes me so happy! Delicious lighter recipes complete with beautiful pictures of everything. Love. Love. LOVE it!

1-1/2 lbs broccoli (3 large heads) chopped
24 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 18 oz cooked)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp shallots, minced (onions would work too)
4 tbsp flour
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 cup fat free milk
2 oz dry sherry (white wine would work)
6 oz shredded reduced-fat swiss
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
cooking spray

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or Forman grill, saute chicken on medium-low heat on both sides until browned, and just about cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cooled, slice chicken into bite sized pieces.

Heat a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the butter and oil until melted and then add garlic and shallots. Sprinkle the flour and whisk until smooth. Stir in broth, milk and sherry and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in half of the swiss cheese.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the broccoli in a casserole dish and pour half of the sauce over the broccoli.Arrange the chicken on top and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining swiss cheese, grated parmesan and top with breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil on top. Bake 30 minutes, serve hot.

Fusilli alla Caprese (Giada at Home, the Food Network)
I love Giada. Most women I know don't like watching her show because she is beautiful and is...umm... curvy....up top...get my drift? I don't really know why that ruffles their feathers. I wish I could look that amazing after cooking delicious italian food my entire life. But sadly, as I mentioned earlier, the more I cook....the more me there is to go around. But I digress...Fusilli alla Caprese - This dish is one of our favorite summer pastas. It is so light and fresh and easy. You will love it!

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pints)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Three Cheese Calzones (Real Simple magazine)
Not much to say about 3 cheese calzones but yum. I was not surprised by this recipe. I don't believe there is a way to mess up a calzone. Pizza crust, marinara, cheese, and more cheese. What's not to love?

1 lb refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and roughly chopped
black pepper
1/4 lb thinly sliced salami
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup jarred marinara sauce

Heat oven to 400º. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll and stretch them to 8 inch rounds.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and 1/4 tsp pepper

Layer the salami on one side of each round of dough and top with the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.

Brush the tops of the calzones with the oil. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12 to 15 min. Serve with the sauce.

Garlic Pork with Cilantro Lime Rice (Skinnytaste.com)
Another wonderful meal from my new favorite blog. The pork chops were good but the real star of the meal is the Cilantro Lime Rice. Gina says she set out to create a lighter version of Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice. I have never eaten at Chipotle so I can't compare to the original, but I could not get enough of this stuff! I didn't know it was possible to have such strong feelings for a grain.

1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice
1/2 lime, juice of
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 tsp vegetable oil

In a small heavy pot,
add rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low andcover about 15 minutes. Shut off flame and keep covered an additional 5 minute.

In a medium bowl,
combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.

BBQ Pork Tenderloin and homemade Mac and Cheese
I don't have a picture for this one because made this meal for the Hills who just had a sweet new baby, Lexi Lynne. So I was transporting their dinner while my family was digging into our portion of it at home. Needless to say there was nothing very picture worthy left when I got home. The BBQ Pork is really a cheat. One of those pre-marinated pork tenderloin at the grocery. I think I have mentioned my love for them before. I feel okay about serving a cheater main dish when the side dish is as amazing as Carie Alley's Macaroni and Cheese! If you are like me and love going to places like Cracker Barrel for some good ole southern comfort food. You know what kind of Mac and Cheese I am talking about. Only this stuff is better than any Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese. I could have eaten the whole pan and would have had my family not already scarfed most of it down! Thanks Carie (and Chris' Grandmother) for this treat!

1 (8oz.) package elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose butter

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten


shredded cheese to sprinkle on top

Cook macaroni according to package directions,

omitting salt. Drain well, and set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat;

add flour, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk;

cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until

thickened and bubbling.

Stir in salt and cheese,

stirring until cheese melts. Gradually stir about

1/4 of hot mixture into egg; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly.

Stir cheese sauce into macaroni, pour into a

lightly grease 1 3/4 quart baking dish. Sprinkle

with paprika and cheese. Bake at 350 for 35


Day 3 Week 9 – Everybody loves a good meatball

Wednesday was all about spaghetti and turkey meatballs. As usual, this recipe comes from Real Simple. In this issue of the magazine there was a feature on family recipes. Stories about mothers and daughters and the recipes they share. I love how food can take you back to some of your favorite memories. There was a quote from this daughter about her mother..."When we spent an afternoon together, I loved cooking this recipe with her, which was handed down from my Sicilian great-grandmother. What I loved more, though, was the way my mother left the business world outside and focused on me."

There is a lesson there for me. Amelia already shares my interest in cooking. She has been watching Food Network since she was a baby. She is constantly asking to help out in the kitchen. I hate to admit that sometimes I discourage her because it will take more time and there is always the inevitable mess that she will create. This article made me think... I want Amelia to grow up and have fond memories of us sharing our love of cooking together. And wouldn't it be great if she passed down one of these recipes to her kids and told them about how her favorite part was that I forgot about the to-do list I had planned for the day and focused on her. Look at me, I'm growing!

I just had to show this step of the meatballs. They are gorgeous even before they are cooked!

The main event. Seriously, does it get any better looking than that? Yum!

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs
4 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28oz can) tomato puree
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (2oz)
2 TBSP chopped fresh oregano, plus more for serving.
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large egg
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
16 saltine crackers, finely crushed
12 oz spaghetti

Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over med heat. Add the onion and HALF the garlic (very important. I missed this part and put all of the garlic in the meatballs. Oy Vey!) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and paste, sugar, half of the Parmesan, 1 TBSP of the oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1.5 cups water. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 min.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat egg. Add the turkey, crackers, the remaining Parmesan, garlic, and oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs (about 1.5 inches each)

Heat the remaining 2 TBSP of oil in a large skillet over med high heat and cook meatballs, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, 25 to 30 min.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Serve with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and oregano before serving. Oh and loosen your belt buckle.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Week 9 Day 2 – I own a VCR, do you?

So yesterday I mentioned my old school manilla folder that holds all of my new recipes. Here it is...

It is busting at the seems a bit and I really need to figure out a more organized system. Something more 2011. Something more digital that fits in with the blogging thing. But that's just not me. I am very old school. I still own (and watch) my old VHS tapes. I even have a few mixed cassette tapes that I am hanging on to for a rainy day. I love a good day planner and address book. I adore to-do lists. And so you can maybe understand why I can't seem to let go of the rustic vibe that comes with my hand written notes on recipes. It is old school and, well, me. I am sure there are others out there like me...who fought hard not to convert to the DVD or Blue Ray player. Those of us who thought... "why do you need DVR when you have a perfectly good library of blank VHS tapes?" People who dragged kicking and screaming into the world of iPhone and wouldn't be caught dead with a Kindle. Can I get a witness? Okay, maybe I'm too simple. But the simple things are what make me the happiest in life. So for now I will keep my ratty folder. And, hey, I guess this blog serves as a digital compilation of those recipes so there's my back up in case the house catches fire or something... hmmm I feel much better now.

Tuesday I pulled another crinkled Real Simple magazine page from the folder. Chicken Cutlets with Smashed Potatoes and Peas. Simple... just the way I like it. A nice kid-friendly meal. Nothing crazy and exciting but the whole family approved. Even Amelia, whose appetite seems to be shrinking rapidly these days. I was happy to find a new way to serve potatoes and green peas. Although I was a bit disappointed in how it looked. The recipe calls for smashing it all together, but the picture in the mag looks less....mushy. I think, for photography sake, they were sneaky and cooked the peas and potatoes separately so it would look better. Oh you advertising folk are so vain. So, bloggy friend if you are anal and want your meal to be prettier than mine, you too should take that extra sneaky step. But I have learned that no matter how hard I work on the presentation of the meal, Walt never seems to notice before he dives in with both hands. So I think my time would be better spent elsewhere... like on dessert!

Chicken Cutlets with Smashed Potatoes and Peas
1 lb small new potatoes
kosher salt and pepper
1 (10oz) package of frozen peas
2 scallions, sliced
2 TBSP unsalted butter
8 small chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP olive oil

Place the potatoes in the saucepan with enough water to cover. Add 1 tsp salt. Simmer until tender, 15 to 18 min, adding the peas in the last 2 min. Drain. Gently mash with scallions, butter, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Coat with the flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat 1 TBSP of the oil in a large skillet over med high heat and cook half of the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 min per side. Transfer to plates. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Serve with the potatoes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week 9 Day 1 – I'm Baaa-aaaak!

I am so happy to be cooking with a purpose again. I know...I am so weird. For some reason, I just can't seem to get motivated by everyday life. I have to have some sort of crazy goal I am working towards. And I have become such a nerd with this challenge. I sit in a coffee shop on Monday mornings with my folder full of recipes (literally a manilla folder crammed with pages I have ripped out of magazines) ready to plan the meals for the week and make out my shopping list. It brings me so much joy that I think I need to re-evaluate the rest of my life.

On a side note, as this challenge goes on and my folder gets fatter I think I need to figure out some better way to organize these recipes....Note to self.... Think about that tomorrow.

I would say that cooking is similar to riding a bike. It all comes back to you, eventually, but you might fall off the bike or run into a tree stump (aka spill flour on the floor and burn some primary ingredients) a couple of times at first. So I started off the month with Sausage, Spinach and Provolone Pizza from Real Simple. Pizza is easy right? Nothing to mess up there. Well, I didn't totally screw it up, but it wasn't my best attempt either. It tasted good (kind of like a sausage biscuit) but didn't really feel like a complete meal. Should have served a salad or something with it. And if I make this again, I will use shredded provolone cheese rather than slices. I just think it would look prettier that way. It looked kind of "made it up myself" with the giant cheese polka dots. All and all not too bad for my first day back on the job. I give it a B-. More to come...

Sausage, Spinach and Provolone Pizza
1 lb of pizza dough, thawed if frozen ( I just used Pillsbury pizza crust)
Cornmeal for the pan
2 TBSP olive oil
2 links Italian sausage, casings removed (about 3/4 lb)
1 small bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 3 cups)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 lb thinly sliced provolone (next time I will use shredded provolone instead)

Heat oven to 425º. Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal. Shape dough into a 14-inch circle and place on prepared baking sheet.

Brush dough with 1 TBSP of the oil and bake until puffed and golden (about 15 min)

Meanwhile, heat the remaining TBSP of oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4-5 min. Add the spinach and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and cook, tossing for 1 min.

Top partially cooked dough with the sausage mixture and cheese. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted, about 12 to 15 min.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 8 – For a short month, February has lasted forever!

I finally made it to Week 8! I am promising my bloggy friends and myself that I am going to better at keeping up with the blog posts during this next leg of the challenge.

Week 8 was packed with great recipes so I don't want to breeze through it without giving it the proper Pomp and Circumstance. I will try to make my descriptions short but meaningful. I am sure I can do that since I am quickly becoming a blogging genius! Am I right!?! (please note the heavy sarcasm)

So here's the line up...
Hawaiian Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
Easy White Pizza
Cranberry Pork Roast
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Cheddar Chicken

You are on the edge of your seat right now... aren't you?

Monday - Zach Hill's Hawaiian Chicken and Mashed potatoes
Our friend Zach was very bold and sent me this recipe claiming that it was so good I might feel the urge to dance in a grass skirt. He was right, this meal is delicious. I don't have a grass skirt, but if i did I would definitely wear it for a chance to eat this again! I asked him for a picture of him boogieing down in his hula attire for my blog. Zach, I am still waiting...

Hawaiian Chicken
6 chicken breasts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup BBQ sauce (a sweet sauce)
1 can crushed or diced pineapple
1/2 lb swiss cheese slices

Spray a baking sheet and line with tinfoil. Puncture both sides of chicken with fork to allow juice to soak in. In a bowl, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, and pineapple. Pour over chicken breast and bake for about 45 minutes at 450º. Once cooked, cover with cheese slices to melt. The sauce in the pan is awesome over mashed potatoes too!

Tuesday – Easy White Pizza
Tuesday night Steve had a work dinner so I wanted to cook something quick that I knew the kids would enjoy. I found a recipe on Foodnetwork.com for an Easy White Pizza. This is Claire Robinson's recipe. I love her show 5 Ingredient Fix. By definition everything is easy because you only use 5 ingredients! She is also a native Memphian which I find interesting. So I chose this white pizza. It was pretty good, but I should have spread the ricotta cheese out a little more rather than just dolluping it out like the recipe suggests. Also i cooked it too long so it was a little brown. Not worthy of a picture. Still, it was pizza and pizza is always yummy!

Easy White Pizza
  • Garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 1 (1-pound) ball frozen pizza dough, thawed and at room temperature (I cheated and used Pillsbury pizza crust)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.

Brush the pizza pan with oil. On a work surface, using your hands, press the pizza dough into a large flat disk and transfer it to the greased pan. Using your fingers, press the dough out until it has stretched to the perimeter of the pan. Create a dough "lip" around the outer edges of the pan. Brush the entire surface of the dough lightly with garlic oil and pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, to prevent bubbling.

Evenly spread the mozzarella over the crust. Using 2 spoons,dollop teaspoon-sized mounds of ricotta evenly over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and evenly sprinkle the chopped oregano over the top.

Bake in the lower third of the oven until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and browning on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before garnishing with additional oreganoand slicing into 8 pieces.

Wednesday – Cheryl's Cranberry Pork Roast
I love it when friends send me recipes for me to try especially when they are delicious! This Cranberry Pork Roast recipe was courtesy of my college friend Cheryl. Cheryl lives in Ohio with her husband and 3 kids. She is one of those super fun moms that always up for playing outside with her kids. I want to be Cheryl when I grow up. She likes to plan ahead and have dinner cooking during nap time so that she can spend the afternoon hanging with her sweet family. Who can blame her? Her kids are adorable and hilarious! Never a dull moment in their house!

Cheryl's Cranberry Pork Roast
Place pork roast in crock pot/slow cooker
Cover a pork roast in dijon mustard
sprinkle a pack of dry onion soup on it
Pour in a can of WHOLE BERRY cranberry sauce
Cook on low.
Serve over white rice.

Thursday – Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Another masterpiece from Real Simple! Not much else to say about this one. Delish! Delish! Delish! I enjoyed this one so much that I have 2 pictures. The prep for this was so easy and fun! Filling the pasta shells was really therapeutic for me. I love meticulous tasks. Is that weird?

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12oz box)
1 24oz jar marinara sauce
2 15oz containers of ricotta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2oz)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella (4oz)
green salad (optional)

Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400º. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and run under cold water until cool.

Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 - 12 minutes.

Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until the cheese begins to brown, 2 - 5 min. Serve with the salad if desired.

Here is another look at the deliciousness...

TGI Friday – Cheddar Chicken
I should work for Real Simple because I am their biggest fan and best advertisement. Here is another gem from my favorite magazine. I had made this one before and it was as good this time as the first time I made it. The whole family loves it!

Cheddar Chicken
16 buttery ritz crackers, crushed
6 oz sharp cheddar, grated
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
4 (6oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
Wild Rice pilaf and steamed green beans

Heat overn to 350º. In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, garlic, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken in the butter, then in the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 25 to 30 min. Serve with the pilaf and green beans, if using.

Well that is it!! Whew... glad to be done with that. Tonight I start back with the cooking! Looking forward to it! I will let you know how it goes!!
Until then, bloggy friends!