When these lovely kids’ lovely mom had to take care of business, I had the joy of cooking with J, KS, and KT.
On our menu: Stuffed Pasta Shells and Chocolate Chip Cookies. For the stuffed pasta shells, you can substitute with canneloni or any pasta that can be filled.
¼ c. olive oil, 160 g. chopped red onions, 24 g. chopped garlic, 8 c. canned, diced tomatoes, 54 g. brown sugar, 3/4 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, 2 T. dried oregano, 12 g. fresh basil leaves, washed and dried. Cut into strips just before using.
1. In a large saucepan on medium heat, put olive oil. When oil is hot, add onions. Allow to cook until transparent. Add garlic and allow to turn golden.
2. Add diced tomatoes. Mix well.
3. Add sugar, salt, pepper, oregano and mix well. Cut basil leaves into strips and add to sauce. Simmer covered over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring intermittently.
500 g. ricotta cheese, 200 g. parmesan cheese, grated + approx. 25 g. for garnish, 200 g. mozzarella cheese, shredded + approx. 25 g. for garnish, 100 g. Italian style breadcrumbs, 1 c. fresh milk, 10-12 medium sized basil leaves, cut into strips + additional 2 leaves for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and cheeses well. Add the other ingredients plus 2/3 cup of the Sauce or your favorite meat sauce and mix well.
3. Place the filling in a large piping bag. Stuff the shells so that the filling would show through the gap.
4. In bake-proof serving dish with a rim, pour the SAUCE enough to cover at least 1/3 of the shell. Position the shells over the sauce.
5. With a small ladle, pour sauce, like a belt across the “waistline” of the shells; over the sauce; garnish with mozzarella cheese…
6. Add some freshly-cut basil strips letting the colors ivory, red, and green be seen.
7. To prevent all that yummy stuff from sticking to your foil, line the perimeter and center of the shells with toothpicks.
8. Gently cover the dish completely with foil without puncturing the foil.
9. Bake 30 minutes.
Here is the STUFFED PASTA SHELLS recipe from my Rotary mom, Shirley Strong, that I shared with Angelo Comsti for this Philippine Daily Inquirer feature.
The kids took some music breaks…
KS is amused by the Vinyl Record Turntable but I had to explain we don’t scratch it up the way Disc Jockeys do 🙂
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
150 g. white sugar + 150 g. brown sugar
225 g. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 whole egg
280 g. All purpose flour, sifted
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
100 g. bittersweet chocolate+ 75 g. white chocolate, chopped
Heat oven to 375ºF. If using chocolate blocks, chop Chocolates into smaller pieces. [I think I have pro cooks today!
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt.
Set aside. In large bowl, dump and mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until no more ingredient powders visible.
Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for half an hour (to overnight). Using a small cookie disher (small ice cream scoop), place the dough on a Silpat-lined baking tray giving enough space for the cookie to expand, about 2 inches apart.
If you like Oreos or another kind of bakeable topper, you can add them on. Don’t you just love perseverance when you see it?
Bake about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown while the center is a bit soft. Remove from Silpat liner then allow to cool on a cooling rack. They’re yummy when just cooled right off the oven.
While waiting for the food to be ready, KS serves us Sparkling Grape Juice.
Do the kids look like they enjoyed?
KS said he doesn’t eat this kind of pasta but he ate half the takeout that he brought for his dad.
I thought I was helping out their parents while I entertained these kids but it’s possible I had more fun than they did. I had such a great time chatting with them and hearing their witty ideas. I have missed this since my own boys went off to university. I would recommend to all emptynesting moms: Go find some kids to borrow! Just make sure to return them on time 🙂
Proverbs 11:25b Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.