First post: Stuffed shells with Italian breaded chicken and tomatoes

The Geek Girl is in the house, and she’s cooking.  I am wholly grateful to a summer of no grad school classes so that I can indulge my newfound love of cooking.  See, when an obstinate girl like myself is told that she’ll starve because her ex is leaving (and he was the one who loved and did all the cooking before), it’s the same as throwing down the gauntlet.  The challenge was issued in 2009, and here I am now with more cooking and recipes under my belt than ever dreamed of.  So I thought to myself this semester, why not start a blog to celebrate this rise to the challenge?  After all, I’ve been posting pictures of my cooking on my Facebook and Live journal already, so now I’ll expand it.

The first recipe I’m posting is from last night.  I decided that I wanted to make a kickass Mother’s Day dinner for my roommate and myself because we’re awesome momma’s of two four-leggeds.  It was stuffed and baked pasta shells in a parma rosa sauce with lightly breaded Italian breadcrumb pan-fried chicken, tomato slices in basil vinagrette and garlic bread.  For dessert, we had chocolate covere strawberries, but I didn’t make those.  We bought them at HEB (the same with the garlic bread, which we bought at Whole Foods in Austin and I just heated up).

First off, I purchased ricotta and the HEB brand of the Italian cheese blend.  You could just use mozzarella, too.  Now, I prefer the whole milk ricotta, and I prefer this brand because it’s not as gross and grainy as some ricotta that I’ve had.  Now, I just made 12 shells for my roommate and me, so I took half of the ricotta and put it into a mixing bowl with one egg.  Mix together until it’s smooth and creamy.  Add in spices.  I used cracked sea salt, cracked black pepper, several pinches of basil, parsley and fennel.  After that, I added in a couple of handfuls of the grated Italian cheese.

A Tale of Two Cheeses
Smooth

I boiled the shells in lightly salted water until they were just under al dente then drained them until all of the water was off.

Shells in a Box
Boiled Shells

Now, the way I initially learned to make a parma rosa sauce was to mix part of a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce with a portion of a jar of an alfredo sauce.  So this is what I did.  I will one day make my own entirely from scratch.

Sauces used for Parma Rosa
 Parma Rosa

Next, I filled the shells with the cheese mixture and put them into the baking dish that I lightly brushed with olive oil.  Cover them with the parma rosa sauce then top with the remaining grated cheese.  Put into the oven at 350° for 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and starting to get a wee bit brown and crispy.

Uncooked Stuffed Shells
Ready for the Oven
In the Oven with Garlic Bread

As far as the chicken goes, you want to cut off all the fat.  If they’re thicker breasts, you pound them out until they’re flat so that they’ll cook more evenly all the way through.  Put them through an egg wash then coat in Italian breadcrumbs.  Then add a little EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil) into a pan and heat until it’s very hot.  Put the chicken in and pan-fry until they’re crispy and yum.  Take out of the pan and set onto a paper plate with paper towels to let the oil drain off.

Breaded Chicken Ready to be cooked
Cooking the Chicken

Of course, the drink is your choice, but last night, the Roommate and I enjoyed glasses of this wine that we purchased at Whole Foods, and it was very tasty.

Wine

And finally plate up your meal and enjoy!

plated up

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Katy says:

    That really does look great. I’ll have to remember to hit up this blog in addition to FB and LJ to keep up with the awesome stuff you make.

    And this looks REALLY GOOD and I kind of want to make it someday. Especially the shells.

    1. Thank you, m’dear! It’s so freakin’ easy, too. I’m going to try different stuffing, too, like some meat stuffing for those who aren’t as keen on cheese. Or a combination of meat and cheese. Or spinach. 🙂

  2. This looks ridiculously tasty! I’ve also now learned how to stuff pasta, I’d never seen it done before, just eaten the finished product.

    1. For some reason when I saw other people’s stuffed shells, I thought, “Oh that’s got to be hard and messy.” Not one bit! It was less messy than a lot of food I’ve made!

      1. I’m sure they’re a lot less messy than my scones were. >.>

        1. I need to see if I can’t find the scone recipe that the ex used because I don’t remember them being messy. And he just rolled them into balls and flattened them some with a rolling pin then baked them and cut them when they were done.

          1. That sounds much easier than what I did, but when the recipes posts you’ll see why it was also fun. ;-D

            1. Awesome! 🙂 Can’t wait to see it.

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