Sometimes You Just Have to Get Out! (And Easy Stuffed Shells) [RECIPE]

Good Morning Beautiful People!

How are you today? ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’re doing well. Are you having a good Tuesday? I hope right now you’re sitting somewhere comfortable, with a good beverage in hand, feeling relaxed. Have you ever seen that movie, “Under the Tuscan Sun”? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. Diane Lane is wonderful as the leading role of Frances. Anyways, most people like that movie because it’s about this American woman who, on a whim, buys an Italian villa and begins restoring it in the next (post-divorce) chapter of her life. But I like the movie because in the midst of this new transition, even in gorgeous Tuscany, she says, “sometimes you just need to get out!” and then heads off on an overnight jaunt to Rome. It’s true… sometimes you need a change in scenery.

Yesterday, I did just that.

I was feeling creatively stifled. My humble abode felt… boring! My body craved the sea and to wake up to the marine layer. So late last night I drove up to the coast and got here just as the sun was setting. I knew on the other side of those gorgeous green hills lay the ocean. It was calling my name, waiting for me to come and play. Summer is here.

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Then I woke up early this morning… walked out on the porch… and danced in the marine layer. My skin felt wet and cold… and it felt amazing!ย I turned on reggae music and danced around making breakfast. This is what life is all about ๐Ÿ™‚ . I feel my creative juices returning and I can’t wait to take you along with me while I’m up here. My brain is relaxing completely. I’m dreaming of fish tacos and a cold beer…. and I don’t even drink! But there’s something about the beach that makes you just unwind and sink into life completely.

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This morning’s marine layer ๐Ÿ™‚ So perfect!

So I’m here… and I’m bringing you along on this summer adventure. So strap on some shades, slap on your sunblock, and let’s go!

And now, let’s look at today’s recipe.

Stuffed shells. I don’t do many pasta recipes because they can be heavy. But last night I needed something relatively fast, easy, and delicious. I tossed some kale, pancetta, and ricotta together. Stuffed some cooked pasta shells. Covered it with marinara and baked it for 30 minutes in the oven while I unpacked our bags.

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Thirty minutes later the family was salivating and as I sat on the porch was I grateful to have an easy recipe like this on hand to indulge in. If I’m being honest, I was too tired to stuff the shells (as is traditional). So I smeared the mix around the shells instead. The family could have cared less, and it saved me a ton of time. Win-win! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do. ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay relaxed, my friends. Have a wonderful day, and as always, keep on cooking! โค

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Easy Stuffed Shellsย 

Serves: 6

Ingredients:ย 

  • 8 ounces part-skim ricotta
  • 1 small pack, chopped pancetta
  • 2-3 handfuls kale, ripped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 4-5 tbsp. Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:ย 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F)/ 200 degrees (C).
  2. In a pan, drizzle a little bit of oil and saute the pancetta and kale until soft and tender (about 5-6 minutes over medium-high).
  3. Mix the kale and pancetta in a bowl with the ricotta. Season with black pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot boil the jumbo noodles for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. Grab a casserole dish and put 1/3 of the jar on the bottom. Spread it out. Put the noodles on top.
  6. Now if you want to do the traditional method, take a tablespoon and scoop the filling in each shell. Or, if you want to be lazy like me ๐Ÿ˜‰ then scoop the mix into the shells and smear all over them.
  7. Top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until set and top is crispy.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy with salad or bread!

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