Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recipe Review: Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

This is a great recipe and that is why it is chosen as the first recipe review. This stuffed shell dinner is tasty and full of delicious veggies and cheese, and of course tomato sauce filled with yummy ground turkey. Great way to hide spinach into your family's dinner plate.The recipe makes ALOT! You will be eating stuffed shells for a long time. I found a couple years ago, and follow the blog on FB and Pinterest (SAA's next stop!) The nice part about this review is some extra proof that delicious recipes discussed on the 'net have actually been tested and tasted approved! I've made it more than once and by the end of the week, everything is gone.

Also, this is a Weight Watchers meal, for all you constant dieters out there. 7 pts for 3 shells

This recipe is very simple. The only troubling part is after boiling the shells and removing them from the hot water al dente and still in one piece. Just take your time and let the shells cool a bit. Get out a couple casserole dishes and anyone can lend a hand when making this super simple recipe.

I found this recipe to be great when you rely on leftovers to provide for additional meals. I made a big batch the night before Thanksgiving so we had that for dinner and a suitable brunch while cooking up turkey. I cant stand waiting to eat on holidays so I think eating the whole day should be the rule.
Anyway, back to the recipe rating.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Let's get cooking!

Skinny Stuffed Shells
Recipe by Skinnytaste

  • 27 (9 oz) Barilla Jumbo Shells ** (I use the whole box basically)
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey **(I usually use a little more than 1 lb)
  • ^^ Dried Italian spices such as oregano and basil to taste, in meat sauce^^
  • 32 oz crushed tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano


- Boil water and cook shells according to package directions, make sure to make them al dente.

- Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in oil. Add turkey and salt and brown until cooked, breaking up in small pieces. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil, thensimmer on low, covered, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, egg, spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan.

- Once shells are cooked and cool, fill each shell with (about 2 heaping tbsp) cheese mixture and place on a large baking dish, or two smaller dishes, covering the bottom of the dish with a little sauce. 

- Top shells with half of the sauce, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes; uncover foil and bake 5 more minutes.

SS of the week: Crystal Caves for DOS


Hey there, retro gaming fans! Have I got a real gem for you tonight, or what? This week, we talk about gems in one of the coolest games for DOS.
For WHAT? Yes, for DOS. This game ran on a computer with Windows 3.12 on my Packard Bell. Back in those days, you could get this weird black plastic square things called 'floppy disks'. They came in different sizes. The local drugstore had a rack of the 3 and a half inch floppy disks in a demo game.
Demo? Whatever, it looked cool! I could get a computer game when Mom was getting medicine or something boring. These games were not much in length but they did hold my attention for at least its price of $5.00 or so.
A:\install your game here fools
do as I command, DOS style

I was a big time science geek, and a huge fan of rocks and minerals. I thought gems and rocks were so incredibly awesome. So yes of course, this game rocked my world.

So here it is. The mushrooms dont do anything. The signage doesnt mean anything. Everything can basically kill you. You get a gun and bullets and hearts and power up with food. I love powering up with food. It always makes me want to eat my prize. Also, lots of pretty gems around to collect.

As you see, you are small and cant move around so great, you have to deal with the oddest monsters and strange layouts. I mean, I thought this was Crystal Caves, and we are definitely no longer in a cave. OR maybe we are? See they are pumping oxygen inside here.

I guess by today's standards, this game sucks and buying video games in the drugstore in the early 90s was not the best idea. But back then, you didnt have alot of options yet. Well I know you could purchase the full version somehow, maybe, but I dont know anyone who would.

Well thats about it! Thanks for reading about this game. Its all sorts of mediocre fun with gems and boy are they shiny! Yay Treasury Drug store for selling this junk to my parents everytime I had to go get medicine with them. Well, Commander Keen shouldn't be far behind this review.

Someone has gems with EYEBALLS. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Basil Salt recipe

Basil Salt

Pulse ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup packed basil leaves in a food processor, then spread on a baking sheet and bake at 225 degrees F until dry, 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool and pulse again to make a fine powder. 

This salt is great on anything Italian and is great when cooking sauces too. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Sauce & Fresh Vs Dry Herb Guide

Spaghetti Sauce

Home made spaghetti sauce does not really require a recipe, as much as tomato sauce and heat, but this is what I do. Combine sauces and herbs into a pot or Crock pot, let simmer for at least an hour. Add cooked meat like beef or turkey to sauce if desired. Beef pictured. Done!

1 small can tomato paste
2 cans Spaghetti sauce, your choice
1 onion, sliced in half
cooked ground beef or turkey (optional)


Basil and Basil Salt: Link to Paula's Basil Salt recipe 
 Oregano, Thyme, Bay leaves, any other herbs you may enjoy
Onion & Garlic powder to enhance flavor, optional
Sugar/Salt/Pepper are a must

Fresh Vs. Dry Herb Guide for Sauce
If you are planning to use fresh herbs in your spaghetti sauce, here is a helpful tip. Create a bouquet garni, which is a bundle of fresh herbs. It helps when removing the herbs from the sauce, keeping stems and leaves from invading the sauce. Make sure to get some cheesecloth. It is sold at the Dollar store and probably the grocery store. Wrap your herbs snugly up and drop into the pot. Slice your basil leaves into roulades to help release their flavor.
If you are using mostly dry herbs, just adding them to the pot is sufficient. The smaller dried herb leaves would fall through the cheesecloth. You can skip the top of the sauce later if you wish to remove some herbs but otherwise, just let everything simmer.
Fresh & Dry
This is a fine option as well. You may chop your onions and add them to your bouquet as well, if you do not like to have the texture in your sauce. Most of the time, it is taste testing. If the sauce is too acidic, try to tone it down with a few pinches of sugar. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coffee Cake - quick & simple recipe

Coffee Cake

Simple, tasty, pairs well with morning coffee or tea.
Bake it and wake the house with the aroma of cinnamon. 

Recipe from Self-rising flour bag from Ralphs grocery store

- use metal or glass dish, make sure its well greased with butter.
- About 25 minutes in, poke cake with toothpick, cooking is finished when toothpick is dry.
- Cool on wire racks when still warm from the oven. 
- Use both wire racks (if you bought them and they came in a pair) to bang the cake out of the pan and onto the rack to dry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

SS of the Week: Toejam & Earl for Sega Genesis

Lets get back to 1991 when life was goooooood :) When your SEGA games had attitude.
 16 bit fun and mayhem with hip hop midi tracks thats sure to have you bust a groove.
Now that the funk is in,
lets play this game to let the fun begin!
Toejam & Earl for Genesis
(the Early years, the good times, not the lame sequels)

Fun opening, funky music kicking in, let's go collect our ship parts and fly around like in the SEGA splash screen! (Dont forget your allergy medication.)

So why is this game so funky fresh it still makes you jam? First, its a matter of the fun in exploring. I do like to explore. Uncovering the map, finding presents, moving onto new levels with baddies is pretty cool. You get your choice of Toejam or Earl. I like Toejam because of his high pitched voice. "MONEY!" everytime you pick up a buck. I like finding money in real life, so of COURSE finding it in a game is cool too. Its weird, quirky, and fun as two-player. You can laugh when you fall off a level and onto an older one, there is 'friendly fire' so you can even shoot each other with tomatoes. Its all for a good laugh and this game is just packed with funny stuff. If I have to explain more, then you didnt play this awesome game and therefore, I dont want to tell you about details you should already know. So there!

Planet Not-Funk
So here I am, and what do I do? Grab my floatie? Earl, get your lazy butt out here (player 2 not included)

 Gameplay: Fun-ky. Not always fun though. Pretty funny?.... yes. Get your gift on! Gift usage gives you points, which levels you, which extends your health and gives you extra lives. So alot of times you get used to getting a great item at the wrong time, or items that kill you or even sometimes items to kill your partner (which is Earl to my Toejam).

Awesome! I found a ship piece. Lumpy potato? Just walk up to it and each one is a unique piece to your ship. 

If you are playing 'random' it means the ship pieces and levels are randomized, and the regular version has ship pieces and gifts in the same places. It also has a set level design. I have personally found 'random' to be much more fun and a little easier. So you better play random too.

 Squish, there goes the Earl!

Ok so here we are in 2 player mode. I am player 1. My sister would be Earl, down on player 2s screen. When you separate, the screen splits into two but comes together when you are close on the map. The map sucks. There is only 1 screen for the map, no split screen. So alot of times if your friend is lost and hits the map alot, itll disrupt your play. Itll mess you up everytime, put it that way. So mess with your pals, hit the map.

Basically, all the levels of this lameass planet are about the same, almost nobody wants to help you. The hula girl gets you to hula with her, and will stop you in dead tracks. Alot of times this hula chick will be the death of you.

SANTA!!! Gimme presents!! gimme gimme....wait!!! You're leaving?! Waaaaaiiittt....dont go.....

Santa, what a let down. He isn't an enemy; but what the frack, he just flies away when you get close to him! If you spot him AGAIN, he does the same thing. I found him the other day and there was a present nearby. Maybe he left it, maybe the good programmers already had that gift there. I am not sure and too tired to read and then return to change my post. Does Santa give you gifts or grief?
Well thats all I feel like writing. 
So go get your funk on already!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hershey Cocoa Crinkle (tastes like brownies!) Cookies

Hershey Cocoa Crinkle (you'll swear they are brownies) Cookies

but if you are like me, you like convenience, so scroll down for the full recipe :)
By the way, it helps to roll with a pal!

What You Will Need:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  •  eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •   Powdered sugar


  1. Combine granulated sugar and oil in large bowl; add cocoa, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.
  2. Cover; refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.
    (I left my dough in the fridge for a couple days, I got busy with other cooking. It worked GREAT!)
  3. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Shape dough
    into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie
  4. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops
    are crackled. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
    About 4 dozen cookies.