Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells Adapted from Sugar Crafter
1 package 12 oz. jumbo shells
13 oz. cooked and shredded chicken breast
3/4 cup hot sauce, I used Franks
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded, part skim
3 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, part skim
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, light
1/2 cup ranch dressing, light

Directions:  Prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Mix all the ingredients except for the shells in a large bowl. Stuff each shell with as much filling as it will hold. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place in a dish sprayed with cooking spray. I put these in a 9 x 13 and an 8 x 8 casserole. Top with green onions if desired.

-I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
-I added extra chicken and cheese on top of the shells.

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Put the chicken in water to cook.  Also, cook the shells according to the package directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together the wing sauce, cream cheese, ricotta, and cheeses.
  • Take the chicken out and shred it.  Add it to the wing sauce mixture.
  • Drain the shells and place them in a greased baking dish.
  • Spoon the mixture into the shells.
  • Into the oven for about 10-15 minutes (that’s my pizza stone underneath the dish)  
I decided to add a bit more chicken and cheese to the top of the shells.
Here’s what you’ll end up with:
Pizza Pasta

Happy Saturday!! This is Tiffanee from One Crazy Cookie and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be guest posting her today. This is such an amazing blog!!  Since it is a busy Satruday I am sharing with you one of my family’s all time favorites.  The recipe makes 2 9×13 pans. So you make two and freeze one for later. It freezes very well.


Pizza Pasta
Makes 2 9×13 pans. If you don’t want to make 2 half the ingredients.
1 1/2 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb  ground sausage
2-3 jars spaghetti sauce
1 package Canadian Bacon or 1/2 lb cooked and diced ham.
1/4 lb sliced pepperoni
6 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese
*optional: onions, mushrooms & olives
1. Cook Pasta until al-dente. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.
2. Cook and drain sausage (add and cook onions with sausage if desired)
3. Pour a small amount of sauce to lightly coat the bottom of a 9 x13 pan.
Layer ingredients:
1st layer: cover bottom with a layer of pasta, cover with sauce, mozzarella, 1 Tbs. Parmesan and top with sausage (can add sliced olives)
2nd layer: cover 1st layer with pasta.
 Then cover with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, 1 Tbs. Parmesan and top with ham. (can add sliced mushrooms).
Cover 2nd layer with the remaining pasta.
Cover with sauce, mozzarella, 1 tablespoon Parmesan and cover the top with pepperoni.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Take cover off and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cover and freeze 2nd one.
Unthaw frozen one for 24 hrs in fridge before baking.
*It took me three jars of spaghetti sauce this time.
Cooking The Italian Way – Back To Basics


When I first started telling people about my food blog (friends, family, the unlucky soul sitting next to me on the subway on the way from my apartment to Whole Foods) about half of them looked at me as if I were crazy. (I guess the fellow subway rider had an excuse. Who IS this crazy girl who is talking to me about the pros and cons of owning a mandoline?)

My theory on this is that people in general have a fear of what they don’t understand. My mother, for example, doesn’t understand the internet. And so she finds this whole endeavor terrifying.

Some of my friends, I’m pretty sure, have a fear of not eating Chinese take-out every day. And so they can’t for the life of them comprehend why I own a candy thermometer, have a spice collection that is more well-stocked than that of the local supermarket, and care about whether the chicken I’m eating was cage-free or not.

But then. And here’s the crucial part. I tell them that I’m 100% Italian. Born and bred. Through and through.

And a complete metamorphosis takes place. They relax their muscles. Color returns to their cheeks. They stop looking quite so much like they are about to have their wisdom teeth pulled.

Why the sudden change? Because they understand now. They get me. “Italian! Of course! I should have guessed. You must have gotten it from your mother,” they say. With very contented looks on their faces.


Well. Not exactly. Because the thing my mother cooks most often is fried chicken cutlets. And Lean Cuisine. It’s not that she can’t cook. It’s that she has no desire to. So we’re not really sure what happened to me. (I’m going with alien abduction. But she swears up and down that such a thing never occurred. I have my doubts.)

This notwithstanding. While she may not have gotten the Italian gene that confers the desire to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen making homemade gnocchi or stirring marinara sauce, she does, however, have the gene that makes her want to feed anyone and everyone who walks in the door. And she doesn’t take no for an answer.


But what does she give these hypothetical people if she does not cook? You may ask.

And here’s where we get to the crux of the matter.

All you really need. Are what I like to call the holy trinity of Italian food.

Tomatoes. Mozzarella. And basil.

If you have those three things. You can’t. Go. Wrong.

So here are two dishes that use these exact ingredients (plus or minus two more). I promise they will please anyone who walks through your door. Which is why I keep them on hand. All the time.

And the best part is? These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg. You can do just about anything with the trinity (except for maybe use them as ice cream toppings. But I wouldn’t put it past myself to try it at some point) and they will still taste good. So experiment. Mix and match. Substitute. It’s the Italian way to do it.
Olive and Mozzarella Spaghetti
Serves 3, adapted from The Essential Pasta Cookbook

8 oz spaghetti
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil (I used roasted garlic olive oil that I bought at the Ferry St. Market in SF!)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black olives, halved
3 oz cute little mozzarella balls
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil water and cook spaghetti.

2. While that is happening, cut your ingredients. When the water boils, just as you put the spaghetti in, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Saute the garlic on low until the pasta is done.

3. Mix all of the ingredients and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich

Take a good piece of bread. Any bread. Or a bagel. (Also delicious.) Top it with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under the broiler or on a panini press until the cheese melts. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading along with me! Stay tuned for the next installment of Cooking the Italian Way on the first Saturday of March!

Stuffed Meatballs & Roasted Veggie Spaghetti Sauce


  • I start with whatever vegetables I have in the vegetable bin. Today was Roma tomatoes, celery stalks, green onions and snap peas.
  • Then I drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over it all and bake it for an hour at 400 degrees.
  • I started the sauce with a can of Contadina tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Better than Beef Bouillon paste, 2 cups orange juice and a V8. This truly was a clean out the fridge day.
  • When done roasting add the vegetables to the sauce and set to simmer all day. The vegetables will continue to cook down into a uniform consistency with the sauce. Salt & pepper taste.

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For the meatballs:
1 pound hamburger
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large slices sourdough bread, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, jar
mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • Crumble bread into a large bowl.
  • Toss in Parmesan cheese, parsley, green onions and garlic.
  • Add meat and with your hands mix extremely well until you have a uniform mixture.
  • Roll meatballs around a Parmesan cheese cube.
  • Chill Meatballs until sauce is done.
  • Just before the sauce is finished, brown meatballs.**
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and bring to a medium high simmer until meatballs are cooked though, about 20 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta and Parmesan Cheese Bread while meatballs are cooking.
  • Enjoy

**If you prefer you can add the meatballs directly to the sauce and SLOW simmer for a couple hours instead of browning.

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Creamy Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Simple Supper Saturday

Hosted by Martha at tHe KrAzY KiTcHeN

8 ounces bowtie or fusilli pasta
1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
1/2 cup drained sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Add broccoli florest the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Drain. Toss with tomatoes in a large bowl.
  • While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Gradually add heavy cream, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until melted.
  • Whisk in egg quickly and heat through.
  • Pour over pasta, broccoli and tomatoes.
  • Toss.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese
Parsley Herb Noodles OR Linguini & Clams ~ Cooking with Chaya at OuR KrAzY kItChEn

Cooking with Chaya

hosted by Chaya at OuR KrAzY KiTcHeN

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1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound linguini, cooked and drained well
4-6 cloves minced garlic
(2) 7 1/2 ounce cans minced clams, drained well, but retaining juice*
8 ounce bottle clam juice, added to the above juice to make 2 cups
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

  • Heat butter and oil together.
  • Add green onions and garlic cooking until golden and fragrant.
  • Add 2 cups clam juice* and simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
  • Add clams, parsley, salt and pepper. Heat through.
  • Toss with the linguini.
  • Serve with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese.

*If making plain parsley herb noodles substitute 1 1/2 cups chicken broth for clam juice.