Sunday, December 25, 2011

Double Cheese Stuffed Shells

Double Cheese Stuffed Shells
(and you won't have to throw these
back into the ocean!)
Our family is very blessed to be “snow birds”.  Every 52nd week of the year (with the exception of the year that my third son was born) we leave the cold, snowy, blustery Midwest weather  and head south to Sanibel Island, near Fort Myers, Florida.  We meet my dear husband’s family at the Shell Island “resort”, and usually stay for the week.  Sanibel Island is renowned for its outstanding shelling.   You can see people up and down the Gulf shore doing the Sanibel “stoop”, searching for shells at low tide.  We have dozens of large containers at home, filled with gorgeous shells we found in our previous stays.  Some years the weather doesn’t cooperate (like last year) but most years the weather is sunny and warm.  The beach has snow white sand, and the kids love to make elaborate sand castles and trenches.  Taking a walk along the beach you can see intricate and creative sand creations left for admiring beach goers.   There is a wide variety of sea birds on the shore, and yesterday we also saw a dolphin playing in the waves.

Doing the Sanibel "Stoop"
We are fortunate to be in an apartment that has an entire (but small) kitchen – so although it’s a family vacation I still find myself spending time in my “favorite” room!  While on vacation I try to prepare foods that are delicious but especially fast to make.  I have limited resources as I only bring a few utensils with me, one large pot, and one large frying pan.  We purchase disposable aluminum pans at the local Publix, to add to our “fancy” cookware. 

It's all about the shells on
Sanibel Island!
This year in honor of being in Sanibel and at Shell Island, I made easy Double Cheese Stuffed Shells.   Before we left for Florida, I had tossed my frozen package of Dorot Frozen Pesto into an insulated bag and into my luggage. So to add to my "Shell Themed" dinner, I cooked a package of “sea-shell” pasta, tossed it with the pesto, and made Sea Shell Pasta with Pesto for my Kosherfest product of the week.

For the rest of our stay we’re making do with frozen pizza and other easy-to-make quick meals, although I’m looking forward to “fish night” - making the fish the extended family catches on their annual fishing expedition!  As I said in last year’s Florida 2010 Blog - No matter where we are or where we go it seems that the kitchen is my home…and that’s fine with me…as long as the tips are good ;-)!

Don't be "crabby"!  These recipes
are easy to make and yummy too!
Sea Shells by the Sea Shore!

I love the Dorot frozen products, particularly the frozen garlic cubes, which are a staple in my kitchen.  When I saw that Dorot had come out with a frozen pesto I was extremely excited.  Similar to the frozen garlic cubes, the frozen pesto comes in large frozen rectangles which you are supposed to defrost with a little bit of oil and add to pasta.  This week I added it to some pasta “sea-shells” leaving out the oil.  The pasta was fantastic.  Extremely tasty with a little kick to it (just the way we like it!).   I’m hoping to find it in local grocery stores when we get back.

Dorot Pesto and "Sea Shells"
It's all about the Shells!!

SHAMELSS PLUG ALERT!! I have had the privilege of being nominated for the Best Kosher Food Blog in the Joy of Kosher contest.  Here’s my shameless plea:  PLEASE VOTE!!  Let’s show them what a girl from Chicago can do!   It’s as easy as clicking on it (or the banner at the side of the page) scrolling to Kosher Everyday by Sharon Matten and clicking VOTE!  Did I mention…PLEASE VOTE!! Thanks SO much!! Here’s the current link (For those using your iphones I made the link especially large!):

Double Cheese Stuffed Shells
1          teaspoon         kosher or sea salt
2          tablespoons     canola oil
16        ounces             part skim ricotta cheese
8          ounces             shredded mozzarella cheese
2          large                eggs
½         teaspoon         black pepper
20-28   ounces             pasta sauce of your choice
                                    non-stick vegetable spray

8          ounces             shredded mozzarella cheese for topping (optional)

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick vegetable spray. 
Add salt and oil to a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add the jumbo pasta shells, making sure that none of the shells stick together.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Do not drain.  Add cold water to the pot of shells, draining small amounts of water and adding additional cold water until the water is just warm to the touch.  The shells should be covered with water and not be completely cooked through. 

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, eggs, and pepper.  Stir until thoroughly blended.  Remove a single shell from the water.  Shake off the excess water.  Place a heaping teaspoonful of cheese filling into the shell.  Place into the prepared pan.  Repeat with remaining shells.  Cover shells with the pasta sauce.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with additional mozzarella cheese.  Serve warm.

Note:  If you have more time and more resources than during a family vacation, you can add any of the following to the cheese mixture: chopped spinach, basil, sautéd or grilled vegetables, chopped broccoli, parmesan cheese, or diced peppers.

All the ingredients 
(except the pepper)
Cook the pasta,
then add cold water.
Keep the shells in the water...
Make the filling...
Stuff the shells...
Place them in the pan, cover
with sauce then bake...
Shells are done!
Perfect Shells...and you didn't even
have to get your feet wet to 
make them!

BONUS REIPE:  My famous vacation Potato Latke Recipe!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
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These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

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