Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Stuffed Shells

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! We had a good night. Our son, Joshua, decided to stay home and pass out candy while we took Hudson up to town to see the Halloween parade. Halfway into our trip we looked back and noticed the young one just staring off. I figured that he was taking in all the decorations on Main Street and the costumes were catching his eye. My husband realized a couple moments later that he was actually falling asleep while sitting in the wagon. Upright and in his costume he was dazing off and not even getting fussy. We had to take pictures.

I guess it was just a really nice walk after stuffing himself with our Stuffed Shells. It's really easy and alot better than pizza or McDonalds.

Make sure to check on your shells, they will stick to the bottom. Even with olive oil in the water.

Prepare your cheese stuffing while you're waiting impatiently on the shells to boil. What's better than a whole bunch of cheese stuffed into pasta??

I use jarred pasta sauce. I don't have time or a good recipe for homemade. Yet. I like Rao's Vodka Sauce. But you can use whatever you like. Put about a half of a jar on the bottom of you baking vessel. Enough to coat the bottom.

So when you're trying to take pictures, get Halloween candy put in baskets and dress the kids. One is going to be ignored. Thus the lack of pictures. Bake for 15 minutes and kick the kids out the door. At least when the OD on candy they have lots of cheese to coat their stomachs.

Simple easy Stuffed Shells.

1 12 oz box jumbo shells
1 24oz ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
3 cups mozzarella
1-2 jars pasta sauce

Boil shells for 15 minutes until al dente. In mixing bowl, combine ricotta, 3/4 cup of Parmesan, 2 cups of mozzarella, egg, basil and parsley. Pour 1/2 jar of pasta sauce on bottom on baking dish. Stuff shells with cheese mixture. Lay down over sauce. Pour remaining pasta sauce over stuffed shells. Top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yooper Pasties. And not the ground beef type either.

Good Monday morning. Just a note to anyone contemplating doing the Greenfield Village Halloween visit. It's totally worth the overpriced tickets. All four of us had a blast. The one year old was dressed up and received candy, the eleven year old took over a hundred pictures while my husband and myself loved all the history and pumpkins. It took over an hour to do and we didn't get home till well after 9pm but we're already planning our Christmas visit to the village.

Back to the pasty. My Grandma Leslie made these all the time. Cheap and good. The only thing I have accomplished to do that she never does....keep the amount of pasties to a limit. I am all for listening to people tell me how great my cooking is but I just don't have time to run a bakery for my family's pasty obsession. With this recipe I made 8 pasties and a pie. The pie only had crust on the top.

Start off with Sirloin Pork Steak and Sirloin Petite Beef Steak. I used about 1.25 lbs of both. Cut up into 1" cubes. Season with salt and pepper.

Next get two yellow onions and four yukon gold potatoes. Cut those into 1" cubes, cut the onion smaller if you wish, and season with salt and pepper.

Combine everything in your bowl. Make sure you see pepper. It will cook into the meat and potatoes. Now push it to the side so you can do the dough. I hate dough. I hate how my hands have to be washed 25 times or more to get it all off. And even then at night you somehow managed to miss one piece on your cuticles. And I'm just horrible at telling when it's at a good or correct consistency. This means I leave holiday pies to the my mom.

This crust or dough consists of 1 stick of Crisco 4 cups of flour and approx. 1 cup ice cold water. Add or subtract said water as needed.

You want actually an oval and not a circle. You have to dump a small mound of your meat and potatoe mixture in the center and pull the dough over and pinch it closed.

Now remember I told you it wasn't the healthiest meal. Get a stick of butter. Cut into pats and place 1 good pat on top of your mixture before folding. If you cut the stick hard and messed up...correct with extra pat of butter.

Pull top and bottom parts of dough together. I use the roll and pinch method. From the middle of the pasty down to either side. If you end up with extra dough at the ends remove and place back into dough bowl.

I place everything on either parchment paper or a silpat. For pasties I used parchment paper. Worked wonderful, last year I lost a spatula and two pans.

Like I said earlier 7 pasties and a's been a long weekend.

This is the reason my mom does pies and not me. I even shudder looking at it. But the taste of the pie made up for its looks.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

So here you have it:

Yooper Pasty

1 1/4 lbs pork steak(sirloin chops)
1 1/4 lbs beef steak(petite sirloin)
4 large potatoes(yukon gold)
2 medium yellow onions
salt and pepper(alot)
1 stick of butter to top filling

1 stick of Crisco shortening
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of ice cold water(adjust accordingly)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy playoffs, birthdays, cooking and trick or treating.

So this starts my journey in Blogger land. Of course I have to pick one of the busiest weeks of the fall to start broadcasting my family, cooking and basic way of life out for the world to read and scrutinize. I know this will probably end up like most of my ventures...started off great but slowly fizzled away. I have realized even documenting something as rudimentary as cooking is a chore when you have three hungry guys wondering where dinner is and you're busy taking pictures of the plated dish. Although aren't they the ones that benefit from all this great cooking and planning?? So yes I even have to plan what I'm going to post on this blog.

My dad's 52nd birthday is tomorrow and I am already behind schedule on his present. Every year now for the past 6 years I have elated him with cooking my grandma's recipe of Pasties. Now this is not like most pasties they sell in restaurants and bakeries. This is the beef steak, pork steak and potato masterpiece that my grandmother handed down to me. Nobody else enjoys this once a year treat except for my father and myself. And if we ate them more than once a year we'd have to register our rear ends at the Secretary of State. So yes they are fattening, but take a walk afterwards and you won't feel as guilty.

So Sunday come on back and we're gonna make pasties. Then afterwards I'm taking my boys trick-or-treating at Greenfield Village. This is where my walking is coming in. I figure a couple hours walking should at least make up for the couple of pieces of candy I steal out of the kids' bags. I can pretty much resist anything except for Reese's peanut butter cup. Darn those things are tasty.

I bid you a goodnight and wonderful weekend. I'll leave you with a couple photos off of my new Nikon D5000.