Spring Stuffed Alfredo Shells

sss 3 Let’s be honest, spring isn’t here yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find my favorite produce.  The beginning of the seasonal spring offerings are here.  Last week, I found skinny asparagus popping up so as usual I buy what I like.  Then comes the question of what do I cook with what I bought.  Sometimes there’s a plan and other times there is a search of what to make.  This time we had a craving for shells. 

Since I had the right kind of cheese and pasta shells, I decided to incorporate my asparagus into this dish.  I could have thrown some sausage into the mix, but I opted for the ultimate cheesy stuffed shells.  The pan seared asparagus and mushrooms cut through the potential grease of all that cheese.  So the overall result will please any cheese lover while allowing the entire family to chow down on dinner.  sss 2

Of course, this dish is perfect for the sudden winter storm we are having.  The weather keeps flip flopping and in the midst of heavy snow there is nothing more satisfying than dishing out gooey shells. If you’ve never stuffed shells before, then you want to pinch the sides to keep them open.  However, you will probably still be a tad frustrated.  Those shells are slippery and as the cheese filling gets on your fingers there will be some slips. 

The good part is that the flavors are all there.  So even if this dish is relatively messy, once that pan bakes in the oven everyone will try to sneak more scoops.  This recipe is a good way to use up vegetables, but beware of the moisture levels.  You want the pan seared vegetables to be dry before sprinkling them on top.  

Spring Stuffed Alfredo Shells
Cheesy stuffed shells paired with spring asparagus. A dinner that will please any pasta lover.
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Sauce
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. ¼ cup flour
  4. 2 ½ cups whole milk
  5. ½ cup heavy cream
  6. ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  7. ½-1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta
  1. 1 package jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
Vegetables
  1. 1 lb mushrooms, roughly chopped
  2. 1 lb asparagus roughly chopped
  3. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Filling
  1. 4 cups cottage cheese
  2. 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  3. 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 1 teaspoon oregano
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste
Sauce Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add minced garlic and cook till fragrant, 30 seconds. Whisk in flour to form a roux and cook for 1 minute while whisking. Whisk in milk and heavy cream and heat until mixture thickens. Add parmesan cheese, whisk. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Filling Instructions
  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and pulse to combine to a creamy consistency.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Add mushrooms and asparagus and cook over medium heat until mushrooms sweat and dry up.
  3. Take al dente pasta shells, rinsed with cold water, and fill with filling. Place these in a 9x13-inch baking pan with bottom coated with alfredo sauce. They may not all fit in one pan, you may need an 8-inch pan as well.
  4. Sprinkle with pan fried mushrooms and asparagus. Cover with remaining alfredo sauce.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve.
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Just Dance This Weekend

jd 1 That is not exactly a demand.  However, if you want to dance, then we will be doing it along with you.  That is because Just Dance is literally in town this weekend.  You can snap up tickets of your own for Just Dance Live this weekend in Chicago.  You too can experience Ubisoft’s popular video game in an entirely new way.  jd 3

I remember the first time I played Just Dance.  My mind was blown that this is a game.  Dancing is fun all alone, but add in a few friends and some signature moves and you have hours of fun.  So, if you are looking for something more colorful than just green this weekend, then you can catch the live show.  There will be a staged show including audience participation as well as makeover stations.  You can join in by visiting the “Get Ready For It” zone.  Match your hair and makeup style to the visually stunning world of Just Dance.  jd 5

Expect to be delighted by over the top costumes, to dance your heart out and to make new friends. The Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier is certainly being taken over by this Just Dance Live.  I expect it to be an experience to rival that other popular blue Chicago show.   jd 2

Tickets can be purchased $45 through Ticketmaster for today through Sunday night (3/18/18).  You can find more at the official website here.  If you aren’t in Chicago this weekend, then you can the show in either Houston or Los Angeles through the end of March.  Of course, if you want the ultimate experience like us, then you can opt for the VIP experience with exclusive merchandise and a meet and greet with the cast.  So, look no further for the highlight of your weekend.  Instead rack up those perfect combos at Just Dance Live with a group of your friends at Navy Pier.  

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