Ground Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells Baked in a Creamy Cheese Sauce

Fresh Crushed Red Pepper Cheese and Olive Oil. Visit Agrestis Società Cooperativa Agricola {www.agrestis.it/index.html} to order online.
Fresh Crushed Red Pepper Cheese and Olive Oil. Visit Agrestis Società Cooperativa Agricola {www.agrestis.it/index.html} to order online.

The boyfriend’s best friend’s wife’s family owns an olive oil business in Italy. Once a year the lovely couple crosses the Atlantic Ocean to visit her side of the family. This year, I humbly asked for just olive oil. They returned with a pound of cheese studded with crushed red pepper, olive oil (with the lot number handwritten on the container), and black olive pesto. They gave the gifts to the boyfriend, who casually said thank you, and delivered the package to me. His thank you was mild compared to my crazy delight. He would later call his friend about my excitement. To him it was just cheese, olive oil and a jar from Italy, but he was still genuinely thankful, regardless of the gift idea. He finally understood the value of these gifted ingredients when presented with a dish of Ground Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells Baked in a Creamy Cheese Sauce. Grazie e mangiare bene! Continue reading Ground Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells Baked in a Creamy Cheese Sauce

Sweet Potato Pancake with Pomegranate Seeds

Sweet Potato Pancakes Garnished with Pomegranate Seeds
Sweet Potato Pancakes Garnished with Pomegranate Seeds

Before he left our cozy, lovely nest for the warm waters of the Pacific coast, we enjoyed our last breakfast together, Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pomegranate Seeds. The orange from the pancakes and the magenta in the pomegranate seeds are visually entertaining and refreshingly different. Thankfully, this final breakfast was a success, before we briefly parted ways.

During the last two years we’ve been together, every dish made was either a failure or a success. He is the chief taste master. He kindly and patiently tastes various dishes, and he reminds me it’s not the end of the world if a recipe didn’t fare well. What people don’t see are the bad dishes, and the unlucky boyfriend who eats an ill-tasting dish as if it’s their last, choice meal in life. With failure, lessons are learned and a better dish is made than the last one. Continue reading Sweet Potato Pancake with Pomegranate Seeds

Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Cream Sandwich

Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Cream Sandwich
Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Cream Sandwich

For the past couple weeks, instead of planning an elaborate Thanksgiving meal, the only concern was choosing a dessert for kids to enjoy. We all know there are many sweet recipes in the universe, but feeding kids is a finicky situation. A cake seems like an easy choice, but it’s difficult to transport. Cookies became the obvious answer.

There are many types of cookies, but a cookie sandwich made from scratch is completely unexpected for many kids. What flavor would kids prefer? There are many flavors, but two choices became clear. It was either the classic Chocolate Cookie with Peanut Butter Cream or an exotic Orange Cookie with Pomegranate Cream sandwich. The question was posted on my personal Facebook page. Everyone said Chocolate Cookie with Peanut Butter Cream. Kids are simple, for the latter choice is too complex. A friend said a kid eating an orange cookie would scrunch up their face in disgust. I faintly envision hearing a whiny “ewwww” from a child’s mouth as they tasted a buttery citrus cookie. My heart sunk at the thought. Another friend mentioned every kid loves chocolate. I wanted someone to say the exotic cookie, because it’s more enticing to make. For a while, everyone’s advice was ignored. A girlfriend suggested if the orange cookies are made, don’t tell the kids about the flavor until they’ve tried and finished it. That sounds fair to me. Continue reading Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Cream Sandwich

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes and Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Pototo Bread Garnished with Walnuts
Sweet Pototo Bread Garnished with Walnuts

One day, a full Thanksgiving meal will be my personal responsibility. Until then, my friends rely on the sidekick dishes I contribute to their menu. And, if I’m feeling truly lazy, a good bottle of red wine is a peace offering to a disappointed host for not making a dish. Here’s another secret: This Sweet Potato Bread recipe makes two loaves. One loaf is immediately enjoyed, while the other is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and zip loc for the freezer waiting to defrost after accepting a last minute holiday invitation. Continue reading Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes and Sweet Potato Bread