Thursday, January 19, 2006

Easy breakfast casserole

I found this recipe recently and have already made it four times. I halved it for our breakfasts, doubled it to serve my family, and even brought it to a baby shower (so it makes the transition from elegant to hearty!) It's easy to make, tastes great, and consists of fairly cheap ingredients. There, that's my pep talk.

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Six bread slices (I use leftover heels from the freezer)
1 lb. sausage (I use a lot less, especially if it's spicy; I also use just a smidgen of sausage, which is expensive, and mostly ground turkey)
1 cup cheese (I use less)
Six eggs
2 cups milk

Rip up the bread slices and place in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Fry the sausage and sprinkle over the bread; sprinkle the cheese over this. (Note: at this point you could cover the dish and store it in the fridge overnight, if you wanted to save time the next morning.) Beat the eggs and milk; add salt and pepper and pour over the sausage mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Best when hot and fresh!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Easy Stuffed Shells

The other night we had company for dinner and I wanted a tasty, but not ordinary meal. I settled upon Stuffed Shells. There are dozens of recipes out there varying from meatless stuffed shells, veggie stuffed shells or meat/sausage stuffed shells. I found one that sounded good on and it turned out very delicious!

Stuffed Shells III

Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan, smothered in a mushroom tomato sauce and baked.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Yields: 10 servings


1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
2 eggs, beaten
1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined.
4. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
5. In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce, mushrooms and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells.
6. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

*You could also add spinach if you were looking for something more than cheese, or for the meat eaters try Italian sausage or ground beef in with the tomato sauce. Mushrooms add great taste, but can be omitted for those with allergies.

**I read in a magazine that you can cut prep time by pre-stuffing uncooked noodles and letting them sit over night. This was recommended for Manicotti. I tried this with my stuffed shells, it worked for the most part, however some of the shells weren't open at all, unless cooked, so I couldn't stuff about 4 from the box. It was ok, there was still plenty to go around for dinner and leftovers.

I started by putting a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan then laying the stuffed uncooked shells on top and topping with the tomato-mushroom mixture. Next, I added a little bit of water before cooking and baked with a foil cover for 45-50 minutes. The last 10-15 minutes I cooked without the foil cover. They turned out PERFECT!

***You can click on the above link to go to the site where this recipe is located. There you can email it or print it as a full page or partial page recipe card.