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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

I am definitely a pasta girl. For me, its the ultimate comfort food. Sometimes, though, pasta dishes can be too heavy with all the cheese, butter, and oil that recipes call for. Have you ever seen Mario Batali cook?! He is definitely the Italian Paula Deen. Instead of using massive amounts of butter, he uses olive oil.

If you are looking for a pasta dish that is light and fresh, I would definitely recommend these shells. The spinach and butternut squash make these shells really flavorful without using so much cheese. 

I have to warn you, the original recipe calls for a lemon sage brown butter sauce, and it looks absolutely delicious. I didn't use the sauce for this recipe because it calls for a stick of butter and I knew that I'd be eating a lot of shells myself.

Here is the link for the original recipe that includes the recipe for the sauce: Proud Italian Cook. If I was making it for a special occasion, I would definitely try the sauce out.
Recipe Source: Proud Italian Cook




Ingredients:
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cups of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some extra for topping
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Peel and chop butternut squash into cubes.
  • Drizzle butternut squash with olive oil and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until tender. 
  • Reduce oven to 400 degrees
  • Cook your jumbo pasta shells according to directions.
  • In a pan, saute spinach with olive oil. Remove from stove and let cool
  • In a large bowl add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, egg, zest and juice of lemon, and salt and pepper
  • Once butternut squash and spinach has cooled down, add to ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Stuff the shells with the mixture and place in a buttered baking dish.
  • Bake shells for 18-20 minutes

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Girl Scout Cookie Shot

As you can tell, I'm already gearing up for St Patrick's Day. Thanks to my friend Sarah, this is a favorite shot of mine all year long. You don't need to wait for St Patrick's Day to try it! Usually, I'm not super enthusiastic about shots, but once I saw the cookie rim on this I was sold. I like this shot because it is sweet and creamy so it doesn't have much of a bite. It can also be made into a dessert martini which would be delicious as well!

Also, don't fret if your stock of girl scout cookies have already run out. (Which for me is like the day after I get them....) Instead of using thin mints, oreo's or keebler's grasshoper cookies are a great substitute.

Ingredients:
  • Kahlua
  • Bailey's
  • Creme de menthe-green
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints
  • Chocolate Syrup 
Recipe:
  • Place cookies in a ziploc bag. 
  • Crush cookies using a rolling pin. 
  • Pour crushed cookies onto a plate. 
  • On a separate plate, pour  chocolate syrup. 
  • Dip a shot glass first into chocolate syrup then immediately into crushed cookies. 
  • Pour 1/2 oz of kahlua, bailey's, and creme de menthe into a shaker with ice. Shake until cold. 
  • Strain into prepared shot glass.
 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lemon Ricotta Cookies and Candy Kabobs for Valentines Day!!

I love valentines day! Its my favorite holiday and YES it is a holiday. Ask my college roommates about my valentines obsession. I would put up so many decorations in our dorm room that you would wake up and instantly hit your head on floating hearts and pink streamers.

Remember this one Katie?
I made these cute candy kabobs for some of my valentines this year. They are super easy to make and you can get as creative as you want with them! I used lollipop sticks from the craft store, put on my favorite red/orange/pink candies and wrapped them up in plastic gift bags. They are so cute and easy to make for a last minute valentine gift.
If you are looking for an amazing cookie recipe, PLEASE make these cookies. They are my absolute favorite and everyone who tries them LOVES them. They are sweet, tart, soft and SOO yummy. I usually make them without red food coloring. I just decided that the red food coloring would make it festive for valentines day!
Recipe Source: Food Network

Ingredients
Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • red food coloring 
Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 lemon, zested

Recipe:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
  • Add eggs to the butter (1 at a time) until incorporated.
  • Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat until combined.
  • Stir in dry ingredients.
  • Add red food coloring to the batter until you reach the desired color.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Spoon dough (about 1/8 of a cup for each cookie) onto the baking sheets.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden around edges.
  • Remove from oven and let the cookies rest for 20 minutes.
  • To make glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
  • Spoon glaze onto each cookie. Ad festive sprinkles!
 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Caprese Dip

Don't you love it when you have a craving for something and all the ingredients are already in the fridge? This happened yesterday when I went to go make some dip for the superbowl. I've been seeing caprese dip recipes all over pinterest and have been dying to try it! I'm so glad I finally had all the ingredients! Needless to say I loved it. It honestly tasted like white pizza. It was so yummy and easy to make!

Recipe Source:  US Masala

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sliced tomato
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 block of cream cheese (8oz)
  • 10 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped basil
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • olive oil 
  • french bread
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the sliced tomato on the baking sheet. Drizzle  with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Take out of oven and set aside.
  • Mix cream cheese, garlic, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of parmesan, basil, and oregano together until well combined
  • Place the tomatoes on the bottom of a baking dish. Top tomatoes with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese
  • Bake for 20 minutes and serve with french bread.
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