Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Italian food…  and for some reason I found myself continuously looking up pictures of stuffed shells on Pinterest during breaks in class.  They just looked so perfect and delicious nestled in red sauce and overflowing with cheese.  I hadn’t made them before and was definitely excited to see that I would be able to easily assemble them over the weekend.  In my mind… they were the perfect Sunday dinner.  Delicious.

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Pappardelle with Peas and Pancetta

Pappardelle pasta is amazing.  The first time I had it was in Philadelphia when visiting my sister at grad school.  We went with my parents to this great authentic Italian restaurant.  They served it as a Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta with _____ Sauce.  I can’t remember the exact sauce… but it was amazing.  Equally amazing was the young and beautiful Italian man repeating the name of the culinary creation over and over again.  Why was he repeating it you may be wondering?  Well my mother asked him to of course! Just one more time….

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Chicken, Broccoli and Ziti

I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite comfort foods.  This became a regular part of my diet during high school.  Remember pasta parties the night before soccer games? The parents of the girls on the team would host all of use for dinner the night before our games.  We some amazing meals with garlic bread, salad, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and of course… chicken, broccoli, and ziti.  It was there, I ate it, and loved it.

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Butternut Squash Risotto


Winter squashes have made their way back to the produce section.  There are so many varieties to choose from!  I really love cooking with butternut squash.  The first time I ever cooked butternut squash was in college and I made a risotto with it.  My roommates and I were cooking dinner for whoever wanted to come… which quickly turned into a weekly tradition.  This dish has a lot of great memories for me!  I love the amazing aromas and flavors this risotto has with the squash, browned butter, sage, and rosemary.  Believe me, your kitchen will smell heavenly.

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For the Love of Citrus

So in my last post I talked about how I’ve come down with a case of spring fever.  And it’s bad.  Real bad.  A trip to Fort Worth, Texas helped a little bit.  The weather was about 30 degrees warmer… we drank sweet tea… walked around with no coats on …. dined on BBQ.  All the good things that come with my friend summer (by the way, where are you and when will you be here!?!).

But now that I’m back North… and the southern comforts that helped me keep it together last week are no longer comforting me… I turn to something else: citrus.  Think of all things citrus-y…. lemonade (summer drink), oranges and grapefruit (Florida = warm sunshine), key lime pie (words can’t describe), bay breeze cocktail (picture yourself pool side).  Surely this can help me satiate part of my need for summer cravings. Right?

So here it goes.  I, the Plain Girl, would like to introduce two of my very dear friends: lemon and lime.  They will be helping me to explore the power of the almighty citrus foods (and their influences on an everyday dish).

Lemon will be first up…  introducing (drum rollllllll) Lemon Chicken!

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