Friday, November 7, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells

So, I put stuffed shells on my menu this week.  And I also put lasagna on it.  I guess I was craving Italian when I made the menu (broccoli alfredo was on there too). Today while looking over the menu when deciding on what to have for dinner, I realized that lasagna and stuffed shells were basically the same thing.  In interest of variety, I went looking for something different to stuff into my shells, and found this recipe

The directions have you cook the bacon first and then add all the rest of the filling ingredients to it, but even though I cooked my bacon fairly crispy, the liquids from everything else made it soggy and chewy.  So next time I think I'll reserve it and sprinkle my crispy bacon bits on top at the very end, the last few minutes of cooking.

I also used real sharp cheddar cheese, rather than the gross american cheese product single squares, and used a recipe for cheese sauce from my Betty Crocker cookbook (included after the directions)

About 17-20 cooked shells
1 lb of ground meat
10 slices of chopped bacon
5 slices of American cheese
3/4 cup of chopped onion
1 10 oz can of drained diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350. In a skillet  add chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat about halfway through. Drain the excess grease & add the onion & cook until bacon is crispy. Drain grease again. Add ground beef & spices. Brown the meat until fully cooked & drain.
Turn heat down & add the diced tomatoes  & ketchup. Stir well & add cheese to the top. Once melted stir until the cheese is evenly distributed.
Stuff shells with meat mixture and place into a baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce (see below) over the shells. Cover & bake for about 10-15 minutes.

Cheese sauce:
2 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 cup milk ((I used coconut milk so that it wouldn't bother Allison))
1/2 c shredded cheddar ((I used sharp and just dumped some in))

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and ground mustard.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese until melted.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


It's hard with young children to find a meal that everyone readily eats.  And since my kids all like sausage and rice, I decided to try to make Jambalaya.  Not authentic, obviously, since I don't like shrimp, but I found a recipe that used chicken instead.

Actually, this is the 3rd recipe I've tried, and this one seems to have hit the sweet spot.  Everyone eats most of it, and nobody gets angry when I put it on their plate.

The recipe called for cooked chicken.  I just cut up raw chicken and sautéed it, and followed the recipe from there. (except I left out the celery and parsley.  Celery because I didn't have any, and parley because I didn't have fresh parsley and I didn't feel like reaching up into the back of my cabinet where my dried stuff got shoved)

  • 1 lb. cooked chicken
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 oz. seasoning mix (onion, bell pepper, celery)
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • to taste salt and pepper
  1. Slice the sausage and cook in a large pot over medium heat until thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes). Don’t worry if the drippings begin to stick and coat the bottom of the pan, it will be deglazed later. Remove the cooked meat (leaving the fat/drippings in the pan) and set it aside for later.
  1. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the pot with the meat drippings and cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes). The moisture from the vegetables should loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the pan from the meat (all of that flavorful good stuff).
  1. Once the vegetables have softened, add the dry rice, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir it all together and cook for approximately 1 minute more. This will allow the tomato paste to caramelize and the rice to toast just slightly.
  1. Add 3.5 cups of water, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, fresh cracked pepper (about 20 cranks) and salt (about ½ tsp). Stir it together, then add the meat back into the pot. Bring it up to a simmer, add a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the pot to simmer on low until all of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice (about 30 minutes). Stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

I served it with green beans and garlic bread