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Super Stuffed Shells

10 Apr

My boyfriend is an italian-aholic. Anything including pasta, marinara, cream sauce, and cheese he’s all over it. For dinner this weekend I decided to make some a new concoction that might please him.. Naturally, it was Italian themed.

Italian stuffed shells

1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs

1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 14.5 oz canned Italian stewed tomatoes
(I had 5 Roma tomatoes I needed to use so I roasted them with italian seaoning, fresh garlic and 1/2 a chopped small onion  at 425 for about 35 minutes instead of using the canned tomatoes. )
8 ounces (20 to 24) jumbo pasta shells
1 jar prepared marinara sauce
Cook pasta shells as directed on package.
Combine ricotta, 1.5 cups mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, cooked sausage, spinach, tomato mixture in a large bowl. Prepare a baking dish by spreading about 1/4 of the marinara sauce on the bottom so the shells don’t stick.  After the shells are cooked, fill each shell with the filling and arrange in the baking dish. Top with remaining Marinara sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 45-50 minutes.

Pigs in a Blanket

26 Jan

Gołąbki…Cabbage Rolls…Pigs in a Blanket…

golabkiMy family always called them pigs in a blanket. Probably about 10 years straight I would go to grandmas house to make this traditional polish dish. She had this process down to a science and would make at least a roaster stuffed full every time. We would spend all day chopping, mixing, rolling, waiting, then packaging up enough to send plenty home to each of her kids and grand kids. Don’t worry, I’ve decreased the recipe quite a bit so you won’t need to go buy 6 heads of cabbage.

1 large head of cabbage, cored
1 Hungarian wax pepper, seeded and chopped into large pieces
a few cloves (6 or so?) of peeled garlic
1 medium onion chopped and sauteed
1 cup cooked rice (we normally prepared this the day before to save time)
1/2 cup quick barley
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt
Pigs in a Blanket
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce

Fill a pot (large enough to hold the head of cabbage) with enough water to cover the cabbage and cook over medium heat covered. You want to cook the cabbage until it is starting to get translucent and flexible. The cabbage will continue to cook after being rolled so be sure not to overcook it. The outer leaves will loosen first. Once flexible and removed from the head, remove the leaves from the pot and allow to cool. Continue this step until the leaves get too small to roll. The smallest leaves from the center of the cabbage should be chopped and 1/2 should be laid in the bottom of the roasting pan or baking dish along with the garlic cloves and peppers. Once cool, carefully trim the large veins of the cabbage leaves.

Mix the beef, pork, onions, rice, barley, and seasonings together in a large bowl.

In another large bowl combine the tomato ingredients.

Lay the cabbage leaf on a flat surface. Get enough meat (generally about 1/2 a cup for a larger leaf) and form into an oblong log. Place the log near the top of the leaf where the vein used to be. Fold in the edges of the cabbage leaf in and roll the rest of the leaf around the log. Place the roll, bottom side (or opening side) down in your roasting pan or baking dish.  Continue this step until all of the cabbage and meat has been used.

Poor the tomato mixture over the top of the pigs and top with any extra cabbage, garlic, Hungarian peppers, salt and pepper.

If you are layering the cabbage rolls, separate the layers with the extra cabbage, garlic, Hungarian peppers, salt and pepper.

My grandma always used a roaster because she was cooking so many. We’d put the roaster at about 350 for the first 2 hours or so, then turn it down to 200 for about 2 hours longer.

I didn’t have a roaster so I lined them up in my slow cooker. I set it on high for the first 3 hours then on low for the last 1 hour.

It’s a time consuming dish, but it’s worth it!

Pulled Pork

4 Jan

Pulled Pork Sandwich

That’s right! We’re starting out the year right with homemade pulled pork sandwiches. Now I will warn you, this recipe takes a while to cook but it is super simple and it always seems to please the crowd. A friend shared this recipe when we made it for a fundraiser for a missions trip at church. We fed about 300 people or so on more than one occasion with this dish but its also great for a week night dinner.

Here’s what you’ll need for the pork:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika (I use 1.5 tbs of regular paprika and 1.5 tbs of Hungarian hot paprika to give it a little extra punch)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast (Pork butt seems to work best, although I have done it with pork shoulder and pork loin as well)

Start by mixing all of the spices together. After spices are mixed, generously rub the spices on the pork. Refrigerate at least one hour. (I normally make a day ahead to really let the flavors marry together).

Oven instructions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, covered in a deep dish for at least 6 hours. (more time may be necessary depending on the size of your roast) The meat will be tender and if  your pork has a bone the meat will be falling off.  After the meat cools slightly move to a separate dish and  “Pull” the pork apart with two forks.-this step should be quite effortless really

Crockpot instructions:
Put pork in the crockpot and set on low. Cook anywhere from 7-8 hours depending on the size of your roast. Then follow the steps above. (I prefer the crockpot version because I can turn it on in the morning and by dinner time a delicious dinner is ready with out heating the house up with the oven)

I normally serve mine on a toasted bun topped off with simple homemade coleslaw.

It’s that simple! Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think