Lucy Boston

Saturday, December 31, 2011

feeling Eve-y

Yep- that's a word - Eve-y...
And a feeling.
I'm sure of it.
It all started when
I was planning my menu
for our New Year's Eve gathering...
this feeling hit...
that's when I decided I was feeling Eve-y.

Our friends in the Netherlands
celebrate Old Year's Eve...
I haven't been there for that celebration, but
it sounds like it is an all afternoon to midnight celebration -
mostly outside, weather permitting,
with bonfires, and food and libation.
Then, fireworks and singing at midnight.

I'm thinking that their weather
must be more moderate
than ours here in Ohio.
I surely can't see us out all afternoon and evening,
splashing in the rain/freezing rain/snow mix.
Especially this year, as we've had record rain fall,
and tonight is no exception to that record breaking event.
But, I digress...back to the Eve-y feeling:
Maybe I was really feeling reminiscent, but I don't think so.
I'm sticking with Eve-y.
Anyway, I was planning the main food dishes for New Year's Eve...

The Main-main dish is usually lasagna.
Secondary main dishes are soups,
shredded meats for sandwiches, 
and heavy appetizers.
Way too much food,
because on top of all of those main- and secondary-main dishes,
there are side dishes.
Sides galore.
AND, I really don't know how and why, but
lasagna became a New Year's Eve tradition.

Lasagna equates to New Year's Eve food?
No, I think I'm feeling Eve-y!
So, I decided right then and there,
with Eve-y pushing my buttons,
that I would make a different Main main dish!

Shells stuffed with chicken, pancetta and spinach!
ready for the oven!
Yum! and, I haven't made this for awhile,
so, another reason to make it for the Eve-y dinner.
Here at the Lifey/Stitchy homestead
we are folks of tradition, I guess.
But, I'm changing it up!
My Eve-y feeling is that strong.
Just hope it doesn't cause a huge, squawking uproar - feathers a-flying type of thing!
You know how tradition can be...

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Pancetta Spinach Stuffed Shells
with Asiago cream sauce:
12 oz jumbo pasta shells, boiled (per pkg instruction) drained & set aside.
Into a large skillet:
1 Tbls. olive oil and
1/2 pound pancetta, diced small, brown about 5 minutes.
When browned, remove pancetta to a bowl and
to the skillet add:
one pound of diced chicken breast meat. (Ididn't do chicken this time)
Cook throughly.
Add the pancetta back to the skillet and stir in:
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed & drained
(I used fresh spinach, just wilted it in with the cooked pancetta before adding the cheeses)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup asiago cheese
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg or cinnamon
Stir to combine; turn off and remove from heat.
Stuff this mixture into the cooked shells-about 2 tablespoons in each..
Place stuffed shells into an olive-oiled baking dish.
Now, the sauce...
In saucepan, melt:
1 Tablespoon butter
Add: 1 clove minced garlic and brown slightly-about a minute.
Add: 1 cup cream and bring to a simmer. 
Turn down to very low and add:
2 cups grated Asiago cheese,
2 Tablespoons of dried parsley (1/4 c fresh),
and a couple of good grinds of pepper.
Continue stirring about two minutes until cheese is melted. 
Pour over stuffed shells
(you can shred a little more cheese on top if you like, but it doesn't need it)
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Serves: 8 with chicken added, 6 with no chicken added.
Super easy-only about a half hour prep time, and so impressive!
If you want a no meat dish, this is excellent - just leave the pancetta and chicken out of the recipe. Brown onions instead.
I often make/serve the meat on the side anyway.
This is a recipe that is very similar to a "Giada" dish, but I don't think she has the chicken in her shells.

and should shake things up a little bit!
I'm not going out and dancing in the rain at midnight
like those Dutch friends,
but I am feeling just a little Eve-y!

Hope you're feeling a little Eve-y too,
and that your celebrations are wonderful,
safe and filled with laughter!

See you next year!
(I always wanted to say that!:)


  1. Happy New Year to you and your family and friends.

  2. Thanks, Diane! And a happy, great New Year to you and yours, also!


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