Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

April 9, 2014

Oh my gosh, where does the time go?! I’ve been pretty committed to blogging every other day or so and then April hit….holy cow! I’m barely able to fit in once or twice per week……please bear with me!

 

I am in charge of checking the cows every morning, which I enjoy immensely! I compared checking calves earlier this week to looking for Easter eggs….they are everywhere…..and sometimes hard to find! I count the calves every morning….I like to see how we are progressing. So far, we are half done….exciting!

 

The other morning while checking the calving pasture I saw something extraordinary……and I hope I can describe it accurately as there was no time for pictures of any sort. The past month of checking on the cows has allowed me to see some really amazing sights. I saw my first batch of 6 coyotes hunting together. I’ve seen 3, 4, and even 5 coyotes packed up together, but never 6!!! It was amazing! They really don’t bother our cow herd that much. We have never lost a calf to a coyote attack as some people will claim they have so I wasn’t too nervous seeing them, but I always keep a watchful eye. If something looks out of order, I take note. I also always pack a gun…..in case of such problems. I’m no Annie Oakley, but I’ve been known to out shoot some of the men around here so……(guess I will pat myself on the back out of their sight!). :)

 

Anyway, I cam onto a flat…..I call it “Baby Flat” because this is where our cows like to hang out with their babies. I looked across the prairie and could see little black flecks everywhere (baby calves). Our cattle are for the most part black angus and black angus cross. We have a few Corriente cows and a few Longhorns….I actually love to see their bright colors every once in awhile (eye candy). As I was checking everything out I happened to look across the flat to the hills. I saw a bunch of cows (30 or 40) acting strangely….running and circling around. As I looked on, I saw one cow in the lead…..and she was charging on. It was while I was checking her out that I discovered she was chasing something….something light colored and quick moving. Holy moly…..she was chasing a coyote…..she was in hot pursuit and not slowing down! No kidding…..she was on that coyote’s heels! She chased it all the way over the hill and kept on going! The cattle were all quite riled up by then so they all followed her. Over the ridge they went and down the hill to the dam. They didn’t stop till they got to the water….this was a trek of about a mile or so. I figured the coyote was long gone but the time I got there…..nope….there he ran….and 5 of his buddies weren’t far off. I decided then that I definitely need to keep my eyes open from then on as to these coyotes. If they become a major problem…..well, we know what happens to major problems to our livestock around here…..enough said.

 

The next day I searched for the coyotes, but didn’t see a single one….and I haven’t since….maybe that old cow gave that coyote a run for its life. Maybe it decided to go elsewhere and told it’s pack mates the same thing…..maybe…..we’ll see.
 

With all the busy days on the ranch I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. We’ve been up early….going all day….then eating supper sometimes at 10 pm!! Last night we got home rather late, but I decided to make something new….we deserved it! So, I made the Pioneer Woman’s Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce. O – M- G……it was too die for!!! Here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells

  • 30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

  • 8 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided

  • 1/2 cup Grated Romano Cheese

  • 1 whole Egg

  • 12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade

  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Chopped

  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced

  • 1/2 pound Italian Sausage

  • 1/2 cup Red Wine

  • 1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes

  • 1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes

  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

 

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

 

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
 

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
 

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.

 

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

 

Serve with crusty French bread.

 

Here are my pictures of my cooking adventure:

 

How good was it? My husband (and I) flipped….he rarely gets excited about anything besides steak, but he absolutely loved it!! :) 2 thumbs up, Pioneer Woman…..this is absolutely divine! Give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

 

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