Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Cheese

Fusilli Pasta With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Fusilli is my favorite shape of pasta, and I attribute that to the thickness of the stands and the way it really grabs onto whatever sauce you top it with.

I have many ways of making sauce to top pasta, and this is just one of them.  It’s quick, easy, and delicious. 

FUSILLI PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 lb. Long Fusilli Pasta
  • 1 – 24 or 28oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (Half & Half works in a pinch, too)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Yes, you can use the powdery stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dried Pepper Flakes (*Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, add the oil, onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, and if you like it the way I do, I usually let the garlic just begin to brown a bit.  Watch the garlic since it goes from nutty and browned to burnt in mere seconds.

Once done, add the white wine and stir to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and parmesan cheese and stir well.  Place the burner on simmer and cover.   Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add water that you have generously salted.  Cover and allow to come to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good rolling boil, add the pasta and stir to prevent sticking.

Uncover the sauce and add the cream, chopped parsley and basil, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  *If you are adding the pepper flakes to the sauce, add them now and stir well. 

Once the pasta has reached al dente, immediately drain it and place it in a large bowl.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add this to the pasta.  Stir well and serve immediately.  This is especially good with some garlic bread on the side.

Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Shells

 This is just one of my oldest son’s most favorite meals to eat.  And it’s simple since you can throw it together early in the day, or even the day before, and then pop it in the oven to bake for a bit when you need a quick dinner on the table.

I’m not going to go nuts about giving precise measurements for this dish because I don’t really have any.  I can give hints of how much of this and that I’ve used, but in all honesty, it’s really just something you can throw together without worrying about being exact with the amounts.  Most of how I cook is really me throwing this and that in together and seeing how it comes out.  If there were one area of my blog I could say I struggle with its coming up with precise measurements for recipes.  While sometimes I’m able to provide that easily, I can’t say it always works out that way.  Sometimes I just need to make something a second or third time before I publish it so that I can really focus on exactly how much of an ingredient I’m using. 

With that being said, use this as a general guideline of ingredients and measuring and don’t make yourself crazy about how much of each you use.  It’s food, folks.  We are meant to enjoy it, not stress over it.

BAKED STUFFED SHELLS:

  • 1 – Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 – 24 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 – 16 oz. Block mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly Made or Store Bought Tomato/Pasta Sauce (roughly 4 – 5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

If you are making your own homemade tomato sauce, good for you.  There is nothing else in the world like it.  But, if you aren’t, use whatever brand you prefer.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spoon some sauce across the bottom.

Cook your pasta shells for half the amount of time listed on the box.  You don’t want them aldente for this dish.  You only want to partially cook these since they will continue to cook while you bake the dish in the oven.  Make sure to salt the water well before cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, grate parmesan and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and then spoon into a large Ziploc bag.  You may want to only spoon in half the mixture to work with and then refill it with the rest when you’re done.  It makes the bag easier to manage while you are filling the shells.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and rinse with cold water.  Once cool to the touch, begin filling each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  You don’t want to over fill the shell’s, but put just enough in each shell so that you can easily fold the shell so that each open end meets.

As you fill and fold each shell, place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue repeating until you have filled the dish. 

Spoon on some tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded mozzarella. 

At this point you can either place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them, or throw them into the oven and bake them right away.

Place them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy with a salad and some garlic bread!

Note:  I ended up with about 38 cooked and stuff shells.  I was able to fit 27 of them on the first layer of the baking dish.  I covered those with sauce and mozzarella and then added the remaining stuffed shells to the top of them, spaced out as evenly as possible, and topping those with sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.  You can do it this way with the extra shells that don’t fit into a single layer in the baking dish, or you can just make a smaller batch in a smaller baking dish.  Your choice.  Either way, nothing goes to waste.

 

 

 

Turkey & Cheese Crescent Rolls

My oldest son loves when I make these. 

They are simple and delicious, but also, very rich.  Even my bottomless pit teenaged son can barely eat a whole one alone. 

You make them with canned crescent rolls and what ever lunch meat and cheese you have.  The varieties for what you can stuff in here is endless. 

Turkey & Cheese Crescent Rolls

Serves 4 (normal people) or 2 (hungry people)

  • 1 Can refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 6 Thin slices turkey breast
  • 4 Slices Cheese (I used Yellow American)
  • Wax paper for rolling out dough

Preheat oven to the level indicated on the can of crescent rolls.

Open crescent rolls and divide entire roll in half so that you have two sets of 4 crescent rolls.

Take one half of roll and place between two pieces of wax paper.  Roll into a rectangle, getting it as thin as possible. If you get any tears in the dough just pinch them together again.  

Once flat, place two pieces of cheese and top with 3 slices of turkey.  Fold up into a rectangle pinching all sides together to seal completely.  Do the same with the other section of dough so that you end up with two sandwiches. 

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking pan.

Place in oven and allow to cook for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.

When done, remove baking pan and allow to cool for ten minutes.  Remove to a cutting board and cut each piece in half giving you 4 individual sandwiches. 

Serve and enjoy.

Calzone

Sorry for the crappy, blurry, close-up shot.  I was rushing to get this on the table and down the throats of my children and my husband for dinner tonight. 

Tonight was a super easy night of cooking for me.   I had purchased some bulk Italian Sausage I was planning to make sauce with, and decided instead to change things up.  Instead I decided on making a calzone.  I knew it would be fast, easy and something different for a change.   I should tell you right off the bat, the pizza dough was not made from scratch.  I have done it in the past and it’s been okay, but my own personal results with it have never been anything to sing about it.  Personally, I’m not really a dough-making-kind-of-gal.  I believe that to truly work dough well you have to possess a talent for it.  I don’t possess that talent.  My grandmother had that talent.  I know several friends that have that talent.  Me?  Not so much.  Not at all really.  So when dough is involved I tend to take the easiest path possible.  Either make it from scratch if it’s a dough recipe of some kind that is fool-proof.  Or buy it already made.  When I make my Chicken Pot Pie, I make it with pre-made pie dough.  And when I make my pizza, calzones or stromboli…you guessed it…I make it with pre-made dough.

This dough came from our favorite pizza place around the corner.  Their dough is fantastic and they will sell you a pound of it for $2.50.  Why mess around when I already have a great start?  That’s my thought, anyway.  If you are one of those wonderful dough working folks, go for it and use your own.  If not, don’t feel guilty buying a good dough.  The only pizza dough I won’t use is that stuff that comes out of a can.  Not that I’m too “above” using anything pre-made out of a can.  Not at all.  The reason I won’t use the canned pizza dough is because a great pizza dough is already accessible to me and to most other people.  Did you guys know that pizza places will actually sell you a pound of dough if you ask?  Try it sometime.  More often than not, they will!

CALZONE:

  • 1 Lb. Pizza Dough (either freshly made or pre-made)
  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Bulk (loose) Italian Sausage (Hot or Sweet)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2 Lb. Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg
  • Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large pan, break up and brown the sausage.  While the sausage is browning, dice up the red bell pepper and the onion and set off to the side. 

When the sausage has browned, remove it to a plate with paper towels and drain off the excess fat.  Using the same pan you just browned off the sausage in, remove some of the excess fat, but leave about a teaspoon in the bottom.  Add the onions and red bell pepper and sauté until just tender.  Add the pepper and italian seasonings and remove from the heat. 

Stir together the sausage with the red pepper and onion mixture and set it to the side.

Lightly flour your working surface and begin rolling out your pizza dough.  You want it 15″ L x 12″ W. 

Once you rolled out your dough, dump in the sausage, pepper, onion mixture and spread it out, leaving about 1″ on either side and 2″-3″ on the top and bottom.  Then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella all over the top of the sausage mixture. 

Then pull the top flap of dough over the sausage mixture and join it at the bottom.   Pinch the ends of the dough together on all sides and fold them up and tuck them in nice and tight.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place your nicely folded calzone on top.  As you can see from my picture I had to place it diagonally across the sheet as it was too long to fit any other way.  Take your egg, crack it into a small bowl and whisk it up.  With a pastry brush, brush it all over the outside of the dough, making sure to get into each and every crevice you can find.  This will make the outside of the dough brown beautifully and give it a beautiful shine.  

Place this in the oven on the bottom rack and allow it to cook for a good 15 to 20 minutes, or until the outside is a beautiful golden brown.  Once you hit the 15 minute mark, you want to keep your eye on it.  It can go from beautifully brown, to horribly burnt very quickly at this point.  This particular calzone took just under 20 minutes to reach that perfect point.

 

Gorgeous!  Look at that crust.  I could just pull off all the ends and just eat them and nothing else. 

 

Once you remove it from the oven, place it on your cutting board and allow it to sit and just hang out for about 15 minutes.  You don’t want to cut into this puppy right away or you will end up with a gooey mess all over.  Once you have let it rest, just slice it as thin or thick as you want with a bread knife and stuff huge amounts of it in your throat.  Sometimes, I serve this with some Marinara Sauce on the side for dipping.  Sometimes, like tonight, I don’t. 

This is such an easy and versatile recipe.  I use this a lot if I’m cleaning out my fridge.  There are so many varieties of fillings you can use. 

  • Sliced steak, onions and provolone cheese
  • Diced ham, peppers, onions and cheese
  • Diced chicken, broccoli, and cheddar cheese
  • Browned ground meat, cheddar cheese and sautéed onions

Anything you have left over you can stuff into a pizza crust, sprinkle on some cheese, bake it off and have a great meal.

Normally a calzone contains ricotta cheese.  I’m not overly thrilled with ricotta cheese in my calzones, unless I’m making one with ham, ricotta, and mozzarella.  But the rest of the varieties I make don’t contain ricotta.  Of course, if you love it, throw some in.

%d bloggers like this: