Time Out Food

January 5, 2009

In this house, there are some meals that are referred to as “Time Out” food. This is for the simple reason that my lovely, adorable, and slightly psycho kitten ends up in time out before the preparation of the meal is over. You may think it is a little silly to put a cat in time out, but most of you have never met Spike. He is lucky he does not live in time out especially after the banana in the Christmas tree incident of two weeks ago. But, I digress.

These shells are amazing. They were the first dish to succumb to the hungry masses at Family Dinner and have since been made twice because someone had to have them. They are one of those dishes that will be forever in protective plastic sleeve of the sacred three of binder of my recipes. But, this recipe is not without its downside and that downside’s name is Spike.

You see, I make one change to this recipe; I do not throw the chicken into the food processor with the other filling ingredients. No, I shred the oven roast chicken and then fold it into the creamy, cheesy filling. This is where it happens. Every since Spike got a taste of poultry on Thanksgiving (by his own means of scaling the cabinets and settling next to the resting bird in perfect ninja execution) he cannot get enough of it.

So we play this game, the shredding gets done on the kitchen table (because of my inadequate counter space) usually by Cindy, my sister and Spike waits. He lays at the other end of the table and twitches his tail back and forth almost counting down the seconds to his attack. You watch him with one eye because you are aware of the carnal terror that is coming. Then, your brother in law starts doing a impression of a penguin and you are distracted by the laughter caused by his waddling and Spike attacks. Chicken goes flying and by the time you look up Spike has returned to his previous place on the table, but now he has this smug look of victory. What he does not realize is, it is this look that lands him in time out. I can handle theft and deception but I cannot handle mockery.

Another note: Do not attempt to sample the shred chicken your sister is producing after Spike’s stunt or you will find yourself in time out with him. She is a mean kindergarten teacher.

Stuffed Shells stuffed-shells-024a

Courtesy of Blogchef.Net

1 box jumbo uncooked pasta shells
6 garlic cloves (minced)
2 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 (30 oz) container ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
6 basil leaves (torn)
1/3 cup half and half
28 oz pasta sauce
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, separate and set aside.

Step 2:
Combine garlic, chicken, ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, half and half, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil and parmesan cheese in a food processor. Process until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, mix well with a spoon.

Step 3:
Pour half of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Stuff shells 1 by 1 with the chicken/cheese mixture and place in rows into the baking dish on top of the sauce. Top the shells with shredded mozzarella and pour the over half of the sauce over the top of shells. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
(Makes 4 servings)

Notes: Every time I have made this, the recipe has produced more than 4 servings and that is with Alex’s appetite. Also as mentioned, I do not put the chicken in the food processor. I fold the shredded chicken into the ricotta mixture.

I will be submitting this recipe to Joelen’s Foodie Films: Big Night-Italian Blog event

6 Responses to “Time Out Food”

  1. Theresa said

    Spike sounds like our Oscar. Now please explain the banana in the Christmas tree, we’re waiting!

  2. fingers80 said

    This looks like a great twist on what I think of as a “classic” stuffed shells recipe.

  3. thecynicalchef said

    Since you asked 🙂 On Christmas Eve, I had about 20 minutes to come home and pack Alex and I before we left for our family visits. I was feverishly packing a duffle bag full of clothes and Spike was so nicely unpacking the bag for me. For the sake of my sanity, I locked Spike out of the room while I attended to the bag.

    Spike decided this was a great time to go a retrive the lone banana (leftover from banana bread) from the kitchen and drag it into the living room and into the tree. It was there that he proceeded to claw, bite, sit on, whatever he could to get the peel to produce its fruit. By the time I got out there, Spike and the tree were covered in banana goo and my wonderful son needed a bath.

    Lets just say Alex was stuck at work waiting for his ride a little longer.

  4. joelen said

    This looks delicious and I need to make stuffed shells soon!

  5. Very funny post! I once had a cat named Spike but he was not nearly as naughty as yours, although he did get himself stuck in a tree once. The shells look beautiful.

  6. Brynn said

    Just started reading through your blog today and it is hilarious! Had to comment about Spike and time out. We have three cats, but only one that is maughty and immune to punishment. We tried everything from squirt guns to swats on the butt. One day I had had enough and locked her in our guest bathroom. Once I had cooled down I let her out. She had gone from demon kitty to perfect angel in 10 minutes. Four years later and she still needs time out every once in a while:D

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