Sunday, October 9, 2016


I love stuffed shells & wanted to make them for Sunday dinner last week. I started thinking of something I could add to make them even better. Spinach and sausage turned out to be the perfect thing! This is one delicious food combo. Even my husband who isn't a huge sausage fan liked them. I will be making these again and again.


-1 Box Jumbo Shells
-1(10oz) Package Frozen Spinach (thawed & drained)
-1 Egg
-1 (16 oz) Ricotta Cheese
-1/4 Small Onion, Chopped
-1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
-1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
-1 Tbs Oregano
-1 Tbs Italian Seasoning (out of casing)
-1 Package Sweet Italian Sausage 
-2 Tbs Chopped Garlic
-Salt/Pepper/Garlic Powder
-Olive Oil

(preheat the oven to 350)

1. Cook pasta shells as directed on the box. (Run under the cold water when they're done to stop them from cooking.)

2. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over med-high head. Add the onion and cook for 2/3 minutes. 

3. Add the sausage and garlic to the onion. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Continue cooking until the sausage is completely cooked. (Smash the sausage in the pan while its cooking to break the sausage up int small pieces.) Let slightly cool.

4. In a Med size bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, spinach, oregano. mozzarella cheese & parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper, & garlic powder-however much you like.  Add the sausage and mix well.

5. Line large baking dish with pasta sauce-about a cup. Stuff the shells with the cheese, sausage mixture and line them, side by side. in the baking dish. 

6. Top the shells with as much remaining sauce as you want. Sprinkle the top with parm cheese and seal with tin foil. Bake 20 minutes then remove foil and bake another 20. 

*I don't really like to put salt or sauce measurements on the recipes. Some people are super sensitive to salt & some absolutely have to have it. Season the shells as you like. Same goes for sauce. I like my shells drowning in sauce. If you don't, use less.

(my taste testing plate :) )

For more recipes & food ideas follow Al Dente Diva on Instagram. 


Friday, September 30, 2016


I made this for a girls night a few weeks ago & It was perfect! I made the packets earlier in the day & popped them in the oven when my friends arrived. This gave me time to actually hang out with them and not spend all my time cooking. The foil packs are great for easy clean up. Didn't waste time washing dishes, either. Presentation was impressive & the smell of dill when they were finished cooking was incredible. I can't wait to make these again! Next time I might try spreading some pesto on top of the salmon :)


-1 lb Salmon Filets 
-1 bundle of Asparagus (cleaned)
-Grape Tomatoes (about 5 for each packet)
-5 Garlic Cloves, minced
-1 Lemon, sliced thin
-Olive Oil 
-Fresh Dill
-Salt & Pepper
-White Wine
-Tin Foil

(preheat the oven to 400 degrees) 

1. Cut off enough tin foil to be able to seal the fish & vegetables in it.

2. Spread a thin layer of butter on the bottom of the packet. Top with garlic, salt & pepper.

3. Place vegetables on top of the seasoned butter, place the salmon on top of the vegetables.

4. Lightly drizzle the salmon with olive oil. Salt & Pepper the salmon to your liking. 

5. Add at least two slices of lemon on top of the salmon. Add two sprigs of dill to the top of the salmon.

6. Semi close the tin foil packets- then add a splash of white wine. After the wine is added, close and seal the packets as best and tight as you can.

7. Bake on a baking sheet for 20/25 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the fish.

(Sent my sister in law home with a "to go" packet to bake at home)

* My sister in law baked hers at home for 25 min. I baked mine for 20 min. Her tomatoes came out more stewed then mine. Totally about preference here. The dish will be done after 20-but if you like, wait it just a little longer. Be careful not to overcook the fish, though. 

Thanks for viewing! For more recipes & food ideas follow Al Dente Diva on instagram.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I don't know how Ina Garten does it but her recipes are always above and beyond amazing. A friend made these for me a few year ago and I immediately fell in love.  I made some very slight adjustments to her recipe. I added the site link in case you want to check it out for yourself and follow it the way she does it. These are really delicious, if you like salmon definitely give them a try!

-1/2 LB fresh salmon
-Olive oil
-Salt and Pepper
-4 tbs butter
-1 small red onion, diced
-4 celery stalks, diced
-1 small red bell pepper, diced
-1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
-1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
-1/4 tbs hot sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)
-1 tbs capers, drained
-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 1/2 tsp Old Bay
-1 cup plain bread crumbs
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
-2 large eggs, beaten

  1. Place the salmon down on a baking sheet, skin side down. Brush the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked. Let the salmon cool.
  2. In a medium frying pan, melt 2 tbs of butter and olive oil.  Add the peppers, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, old bay, celery, parsley salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender-about 15-20 minutes. Let the vegetables cool.
  3. Flake the salmon into a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, mustard and eggs. Add the vegetables and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Form into 10-12 cakes. Melt the remaining 2 tbs of oil and butter in a frying pan. Fry the salmon cakes and drain on paper towels.
  5. Bake them for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


 I've never seen this made before so I was interested on how it would come out. I invited some family over for a taste test and everyone loved it! Tastes just like a sausage and pepper sandwich with out the sloppy mess. If you think this sounds as interesting as I did, give it a try, it might suprise you.

-1 package Lasagna noodles
-1 lb sausage (sweet or hot)
-2 garlic coves, chopped
-olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-2 green bell peppers (cut into strips)
-2 large onions (cut into strips)
-3 cups home made or jarred tomato sauce
-1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
-1/4 cup ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tbs of olive oil. Remove the sausage from its casing and brown it in the oil. Remove the browned sausage and set it aside. Drain the oil drippings from the pan.
  2. In the same pan, add 2 more tbs of oil and saute the peppers, onion, and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper. (about 10-15 minutes)
  3. When the peppers and onion are cooked through, add the sausage back to the pan. Also, add 2 cups of tomato sauce. Stir well and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  4. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted water 2 minutes less than the package suggests. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Pat the noodles dry.
  5. In a 9 x13 inch baking dish-line the bottom with a little tomato sauce and cover with about 4 lasagna noodles. 
  6. Top with half the sausage and pepper mixture. 
  7. Mix the ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese together. Place dollops on top of the sausage and peppers. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Repeat the noodles, sausage and peppers, and cheese layers until you reach the top-ending in lasagna noodles.
  8. Pour the remaining sauce and cheese on top. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the lasagna is cooked all the way through. 
  9. Let the lasagna cook for 10 minutes before cutting and serving it. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


-1 large baguette
-1 Garlic clove
-Good olive oil
-1 can small white beans (I use Goya), drained
-2 tbs. red wine vinegar
-2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
-Salt & Pepper
-Red pepper flakes
-4 basil leaves, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 red onion, chopped
-6 tomatoes seeded and diced

Pre heat the oven to 425 degrees
  1. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch pieces. Brush the top with olive oil and set olive oil side down onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bread has toasted. 
  2. Cut one garlic clove in half long ways. Remove the baguette pieces from the oven and immediately rub the top with the garlic. Continue until all the pieces are done and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the beans, 4 tbs olive oil, red wine vinegar, Salt, Pepper, and red oinion. Gently mix ingredients together and set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, add the tomatoes, garlic, 4 tbs olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and basil leaves. Gently mix the ingredients together and set it aside.
  5. Serve both toppings with the garlic bread and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013



-4 thinly sliced chicken breast
-1/2 of a 10oz. package of frozen spinach
-1 tbs. ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese-shredded
-2 tbs Parmesan cheese
-2 garlic cloves, chopped
-Olive oil
-2 eggs
-4 tbs milk
-1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
-Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder
-2 tbs four
-1 cup chicken stock
-4 tooth pics


Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
  1. Thaw and drain the spinach as well as possible. In a medium pan, heat a few tbs of olive oil on low and add the garlic. 
  2. Saute the garlic until fragrant and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. 
  3. In a small bowl, add the spinach, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese. Stir well and set aside.
  4. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spread some spinach filling along the chicken breast. Roll the chicken up and secure with a tooth pic.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl. Add the eggs and milk to another shallow bowl and whisk them together.
  6. Dip the rolled chicken breast in the egg wash then the bread crumbs. Repeat until they are all coated.
  7. In a medium pan, heat a few tbs of olive oil and fry the chicken breasts until golden on both sides. Add the chicken to a baking dish when done and carefully remove the tooth pics.
  8. In the same pan, add the flour to the oil and whisk for 2 minutes on low heat. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a BOIL-make sure to scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to LOW and cook for 5 minutes. Taste the gravy-add salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Pour the gravy over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


If you're looking for an easy meal to make your honey, this is it! Surf & turf is best of both worlds and just sounds special. Perfect for Valentines Day coming up. This recipe is so easy and tastes like you spent all day preparing it. Just crack a window searing the steak, it can get smokey!

-2 tbs butter (for shrimp)
-1 tbs lemon juice
-1 pack of dry Italian dressing
-1/4-1/2 lb fresh shrimp, deveined tails on
-1 or 2 filet mignon steaks
-1 tbs butter (for filet)
-Olive oil
-Salt & Pepper

  1. Melt 2 tbs of butter and lemon juice together and add to a baking dish.
  2. Lay the shrimp on top and sprinkle with the Italian dressing packet.( I usually use a little less than half the packet)
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the shrimp are completely cooked through. 

  1. Take the filet out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it. (Getting the steak to room temp. will help it sear and cook through)
  2.  Generously season the filet on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In cast iron skillet, heat a few tbs of olive oil until its very hot. 
  4. Add the steak and sear it for 2-3 minutes on each side. DO NOT TOUCH, POKE, FORK OR MOVE THE STEAK WHILE ITS COOKING
  5. When the steak is done, leave it in the cast iron skillet and add about 1 tbs butter on top.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes-remove the steak from the skillet and let it sit a few minutes.
  7. Serve the steak along side of the shrimp and enjoy!!