Cooking is Like Love …

cooking is like love quote by Julia Child


Baked Shells and Cheese

Baked Shells and Cheese


I had the pleasure of whipping up this dish with my best friend, Syd! This dish is super easy and really tasty!! If you are looking for easy weeknight meal to make for your family or a delicious dish to take to a party this is the one to make. It will take you about a total of 45 minutes to prep and bake this yummy dish.

What You’ll Need:

– 1 pkg. Jumbo Shells, uncooked
– 4 cups ricotta cheese
– 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
– pinch of salt and pepper
– dash of oregano and Italian seasoning
– 3 cups spaghetti sauce

* For two people, I halved the recipe. Plenty!

In a large pot bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water and then add the pasta. Cook the pasta until tender or al dente. While boiling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin prepping your filling. Combine cheeses, eggs, basil and spices into a medium mixing bowl. When the pasta is ready, drain and pour shells onto a cookie sheet to cool while filling each shell with the cheese mixture. Pour about a 1/2 cup of pasta sauce into a 13×9 baking dish and spread evenly. Place each shell in the bottom of the dish and then cover with remaining pasta sauce, a layer or shredded mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Shells and Cheese Progression


Bon Appetit!

xo – M

Click for downloadable recipe card.

Baked Shells and Cheese Recipe Card

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

First off, let me say that I cannot take credit for this recipe, although I would love to. Mrs. Betty Crocker herself is the woman to blame for creating such delightful morsels of chewiness and sweetness.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I found a great sale at Publix (go figure) on her cookie mixes and decided to try two different kinds. I made the first batch the other night and let’s just say they are gone… I mean gone. I think we ate them in the first two days. Pretty sad, but hey why not enjoy life a little, right!?

The key to baking these cookies perfectly is removing them from the oven a little early. This means before they are completely done cooking. Oh I know you are are thinking that this can’t be good for you, they always say not to eat raw cookie dough. Well first things first, the cookies will have baked for almost 10 minutes in 350 degrees so if anything is raw you may want to check your oven. Secondly, I grew up licking batter off of spoons and mixers when my mom would bake and I am doing just fine.

lick the bowl

What You’ll Need:

  • Betty Crocker Hershey’s Chocolate Chunk Premium Cookie Mix (mine came in a box)
  • 1/3 cup of butter or roughly 5 lines on your butter stick
  • 3 tablespoons of water (and I also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil as well)

Preheat your oven to 350 for dark pans, or 375 for other cookie sheets. Combine all ingredients and mix really well. If tempted, go ahead, lick that spoon. I dare ya! Prepare your cookie sheet with your silicone baking mat (if you don’t have one, shame on you, but seriously go buy one, your baking will never be the same) or spray a little Pam on the sheet. Drop the dough by spoonfuls about 1.5 – 2 inches apart. (I never follow the rules when I am told the distance to place my cookies so that is completely optional. It never hurts to have a few melded together and one giant double cookie, yum!) The recipe says that this will make 2 dozen cookies, which is laughable. Who makes cookies that small? I did 12 big boys (HOLD UP – I just realized after looking at the picture of the cookies, I just lied. I made 9 really large cookies, not 12, sorry!!) for my big boy aka husband. 😛 He LOVES chocolate chip cookies… maybe even more than he loves me, not sure but it is a close tie I am sure.

So once you have your dough drops ready to go pop the cookie sheet into the oven and set your timer for 7 minutes. Once the timer goes off check on your little morsels of happiness to see if they are baking properly. At this stage they should all be flattened out, a little shiny which means your dough is still baking and also starting to slightly brown. (IF for some reason your cookies are flaming, burnt, browned more than they should or still dough ball formations you need to get a new oven.) Set your timer for 2 more minutes. Check them again. Now you should notice the edges to have an ever so slightly brown edge and a little firmer in the middle. This means it is perfect timing to turn off your oven and get ready to remove them. Once you remove from the oven let them finishing baking on the sheet for about 5 minutes. As I mentioned before the cookies won’t be completely cooked through to where they are hard and crunchy. They should be moist and chewy and not to mention almost fall apart in your hand.

If you aren’t eating the cookies right away, which is weird, then I would suggest placing them in an airtight container with wax paper between each stacking so they don’t stick. Your cookies should remain soft and chewy for up to 3 days or so in the container. Mine never last that long in the house though, so I can’t make promises. 🙂



Turkey Taco Pasta

As I have mentioned before, I love Publix! Another great thing about this grocery chain is that they offer numerous cooking resources including recipe cards throughout the store, coupons, weekly ads, grocery lists online and my favorite, their Family Style magazine! In there February/March 2014 issue on page 13 I found a great recipe called Turkey Taco Pasta. Not only is it a low calorie dish, it is delicious. Below you will find Publix’s recipe and my changes to the recipe as well. (By the way – this is a Hubby approved dish!)

Turkey Taco Pasta


Publix’s Recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings

Prep: 5 Minutes | Cook: 15 Minutes

  •  8 oz. Rotini Pasta
  • 20 oz. ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • 7 oz. can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers, drained
  • 1.25 oz. envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • sour cream

My Recipe:

Mainly my changes are due to what I had in my pantry at the time.

  • 8 oz. Cork Screw Noodles
  • 16 oz. ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 pack of taco seasoning, and then I added more seasoning to it with my spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Ground Cumin, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes and… I think that’s it!
  • 1/2 cup of freshly shredded mild cheddar
  • dollop of sour cream

You will notice I used black beans instead of corn, although I think corn will be a great addition next time. I used plain diced tomatoes without green chiles, although I think the green chiles will make the flavor even better when I make it again. I also added to my spice packet with my own spices just for more flavor – it makes a difference. Plus if you don’t have a taco seasoning packet, those spices I listed out are the same ones in the prepackaged spice flavoring, just FYI. I didn’t have any green onion on hand, so I just left it off even though it would be a beautiful garnish and add some crunch.


In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. When you drain the pasta reserve a 1/2 cup. While boiling the pasta, start browning your turkey in a large nonstick skillet with a little olive oil. When your turkey is browned stir in the undrained tomatoes, black beans (or corn) and taco seasoning. Mix and simmer on low until pasta is finished. Once the pasta is tender, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid to add to your turkey mixture along with the pasta. Mix well and simmer on low until ready to serve. Plate/Bowl and top with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.

Turkey Taco Pasta Dish

Enjoy! Olay!

xo – M

Recipe Card – Click to Download.

Turkey Taco Pasta Recipe Card