Minestrone Stuffed Shells


When Matt and got married, there were 3 things he refused to eat: Beets, Tofu and Pesto.  The tofu was a man thing I guess, but I honestly didn’t understand what he had against beets and pesto.  Maybe together it would be an issue, but I really can’t see what the problem was with each individual food.  I got tired of him turning up his nose whenever I said there was pesto in something, so one night, I made a pasta with pesto (recipe coming later this week) and served it without saying a word.  He’s been hooked ever since.  As a matter of fact, as I was stirring the pesto into the filling tonight, he kept coming over and commenting on how wonderful it smelled.  These days, he reminds me when the basil is ready to be picked and takes initiative with adding it to recipes.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in these last 4 years, it’s to not make a big deal out of a change.  Just present it and go with the tide.
For tonight’s dinner, I made this recipe from Sweet Pea Chef.  It was a huge hit in our house and even though I made half a recipe, I still had whole other meal’s worth for leftovers.  Considering that I spent a great deal of today making meals for my freezer, this was a welcome result!  The only thing I changed in the recipe is that I used fresh pesto and added Provolone to the top of the shells before baking them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Garden-Fresh Pesto
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried

3 medium cloves of garlic

one small handful of raw pine nuts

roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED

A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

As far as I am concerned, the key to good pesto is to be patient.  Put the pine nuts and the garlic into a food processor and pulse.  Then add in the basil and pulse.  Add the cheese and pulse.  Once it’s paste-like in consistency, stream in the olive oil until you have reached the consistency you desire.   Make sure you taste it to see if it’s salty enough or cheesy enough or basily enough for you.
Considering that our Realtor is making us live out of boxes and pare down all my kitchen utensils for the house showings, I’d have to say that the simple fact that I managed to get enough food for 2 weeks made, packaged, labeled and frozen is no small task. 

The Pug is Getting a New Kitchen

That’s right.  We are moving.  I haven’t a set a date or anything crazy like that, but in an instant all my free time has been sucked away from me.  For the last week, Matt and I have been spending absurdly late nights at the new house working away so that we can “enjoy” this moving/updating/remodeling project.  So far, the enjoyment hasn’t been too high.  We are tired and have discovered that doing anything major like this with a toddler is quite the challenge.  So while I normally would have been at the house still painting if we didn’t have Liam, I am here at home, praying that he will stay asleep this time and that his fever is related to his teeth only. 

Today, Matt and his/our friend Greg painted like mad men to get the living room and dining room done before the carpet gets put in tomorrow.  That kind of happened a bit faster than we had planned, but when there’s a good deal, your wise to strike.  They laid the flooring in the kitchen today and while I don’t yet have any pictures of the work, I can assure you that it’s looking amazing!  Tomorrow is the carpet and Matt and I are going out of town to celebrate my birthday with dinner at Lola, Michael Symon’s restaurant!!!  Then, on Sunday, it’s back to the grindstone so I can finish the detail work on the fireplace and get our current home set up with a Realtor.  All this is leading to a home with double the square footage and 3 times the land… Don’t tell Matt, but I am really, really hoping to get chickens sooner rather than later!  Everything is a blessing in it’s own time, but I tell you I am really looking forward to the kitchen.  It’s a room my current one could only dream of being and I’m certain the good meals will continue even in a new location!