Monday, July 4, 2016

4th July, Holidays, Prep Work

I kind of took a mini blogging holiday this weekend. Although it being the 4th of July, not many people from south of the will read this blog today. To all my US friends, I do hope you have a wonderful Independence Day with your families but also that you stop and think what it all means. Happy 4th y'all. A friend described this weekend as a North American holiday weekend. She was so right. Not that we did a lot.

There were lots of fireworks on both Friday and Saturday but, for some reason, on Friday, I was so tired I went to bed early and slept for about 10 hours, most unusual for me. Saturday even more fireworks although I didn't get the impression there were any private ones, only public. A friend told me that in the Niagara region private fireworks had been banned because of the lack of rain. Maybe the same applied here.

For us, the weekend was mostly spent running all our clothes through the dryer, well most of them, still have a few to do, and packing up ornaments etc. which the pest control people call nic nacs. Got news for them, that is NOT how it's spelled. Getting prepared for the exterminators is like getting prepared for a move really. I had to cancel a company who were coming in to help because we anticipate our pensions from England being heavily reduced due to the pound dropping in value. Then because I groused on Facebook, a friend saw it and offered to come in and help which is wonderful of her. There is still lots to be done.

I haven't made stuffed shells in a long time but these appealed to me.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Recipe by: Fork Knife Swoon

Yield: 4 Servings


16 jumbo pasta shells (Cook a couple of extra shells to allow for a few breaking while the pasta cooks.)
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
4 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves, roughly-chopped
12 oz skim-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 large egg
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown, about a minute or two. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt but are still bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. The spinach should be reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a shallow 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with a generous amount of the spinach and ricotta mixture, and place in the baking dish.

Cover with the remaining sauce and bake covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins the bubble, another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with a dusting of Parmesan.

Have a great day


  1. While some communities in Michigan banned fireworks because it is so dry, my community did not. We don't want to upset crazy residents in an election year do we?

    1. Of course not. They might not vote for the angry orange man.

  2. Yippee! There is a ban on all fireworks plus no fires etc.. because it has been so dry. I think your body just told you you needed the sleep after all the crappola that has been dealt to you. We are having company over this weekend so thank you for this recipe! I am going to try this out

    1. Not round here Birgit, we had the lot. Bet we get more tonight as well.

      Hm, what time are you serving dinner?

  3. Stuffed shells are a big time weakness for me. I love them probably best of all the similar Italian dishes (ravioli, manicotti, etc). The fireworks last night in my neighbourhood were unreal. For hours. Tonight, the holiday, it's oddly quiet. I would've thought they would start up by now as it's dusk.

    1. I like them all JoJo, but I find the one's like manicotti are a pain to make. Our noisiest fireworks were on Saturday although the holiday was Friday. I kind of expect a few tonight, but haven't heard one.

  4. Such a lot of work for you, Jo. I hope this treatment is the end of it for you

    1. So do I Helen. Trouble is, we thought it was all over before but it wasn't. Keep your fingers crossed for us.