I'm busy. Well, at least I think I am. The Kartes family is expecting a sweet baby by the end of summer, and I don't know if you remember being sooooo tired while making your tiny humans, but I'm so tired. Maybe it's because I'm 35 (a.k.a. feels like 75) now. I'm the kind of tired that calls you to bed around 7 pm to be fast asleep in 10 minutes flat. Then -- boom -- wide awake at 4 am, a quick snack, glass of water, and it's back to bed till around 7. I'm not mad; it's slow and kind of wonderful, this major sleeping baby and I are getting done. They say the tired will go away, but I sure don't mind.
One thing my non-preggo self adores is grocery shopping. I like to wander all around multiple stores, getting inspired, and choosing just the right items. I rarely go to the store with a list. I'll always pick up staple items and then leave the rest to my imagination and budget. During this tiring time of growing a world-changing individual, I have been shirking my grocery duties and sending my sweet husband Mike to the store to get what we need. This man's strong suit is not shopping. Before he leaves, I beg him to inspect the produce multiple times. "Don't buy anything moldy, babe. Nothing mushy, look at the dates on the meat, please WHATEVER YOU DO don't buy mealy apples or bad avocados. Tap on things. Smell them. Just use your noggin." My husband is a genius. He is more than likely one of the most intelligent men I've ever met, but when it comes to produce, we're all doomed. We're cutting off the bad spots and desperately trying to make it until the next trip while praying he sees the old mushrooms a mile away.
I was recently asked by Fred Meyer to try out their new ClickList program. It's online grocery shopping. I've been getting pretty good at writing a list for my everlovin', and a few nights ago I handed him the list and said, "Sign up!"
The idea is this: You find all of your grocery needs in the app, compile your cart, and the next day you drive up to the designated area to pick up your groceries. You don't even get out of the car! Mike was over the moon excited. He doesn't hate shopping, but he hates my inspection of his goods! Ha, now it was up to the employee to pick my perfectly ripe avocados and meat with an excellent pull date. It took about 5 minutes to set up the account and another 5-10 to enter my list. That's it. We were done!
The next day, Mike headed to Fred Meyer, followed the easy-to-locate ClickList signs throughout the parking lot, and called the service number provided at the designated pick-up location. They came out within moments, carting our food! The transaction was extremely smooth and fast. The Fred Meyer associate went over the contents of the order, making sure everything was as-ordered and appropriately billed, and Mike paid at this point. Literally less than five minutes from parking to pulling out again.
I eagerly awaited Mike's arrival back home. I looked over the food with an eagle eye, and it was all fresh! It was perfect. This very tired mama and very exasperated husband are quite grateful to ClickList and Fred Meyer for making our lives just that much easier. I'll be using it again and again and again!
Baby cravings left me wanting stuffed shells -- cheesy, sausage-y, and gooey. So here's what we made with our ClickList haul:
Makes 1 9x13 pan of shells
Serves 6-8 people
Prep time 60 minutes
Bake time 50 minutes
1 lb. box of dried jumbo pasta shells (Manicotti shells are a wonderful substitute)
For the filling:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta
2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
For the sauce:
(adapted from Marcella Hazan's butter & onion sauce)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 28 oz. can of your favorite crushed tomatos
1/2 cup butter
4 sliced fresh tomatos
Salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil noodles according to the package directions and set aside. In a large pot, start the sauce first. Combine all ingredients listed and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes. After you've got your sauce going, begin the prep for the filling. Brown the sausage, turkey, and onion over medium-high heat until it's nice and caramelized. The deeper your color, the better your filling will taste.
Once your meat and onions are browned, place it in a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients. It's okay that it's hot. Be sure to continue checking and stirring your sauce. Once the filling is prepped and the sauce is done, set up an assembly line. Place all of the sauce in your baking dish and begin to stuff your pasta shells. Depending on your shell size a large Tablespoon of filling will fit nicely. I like to overfill each shell. Nestle the stuffed pasta into the sauce and repeat the process, tightly packing shells in next to one another until your pan is full. You may have an excess of filling and a few shells; layer them in a separate dish and refrigerate for later or bake along with the others.
Bake shells for 35-45 minutes until they become golden brown, then sprinkle 2 cups shredded mozzarella over top, and continue to bake for 5 additional minutes.
Last, but not least, enjoy!