Saturday, July 9

Stuffed Shells a Hit at Midtown Market

Getting ready for Midtown Market had an added touch of tension, this week. Weather reports said that there would be heavy thundershowers throughout the weekend. Gulp! Coming up with something that will solar cook in that small window of cooking time is hard enough without worrying about a thundershower, too! From set-up at 7:00 a.m. until almost 9:15 a.m., we had ominous heavy clouds blocking the sun and I was sure the day was going to be a bust. But, with hope eternal in my heart, I put the stuffed shells in the solar oven and let whatever was going to happen, happen. Ta da, sunshine! Ta da, stuffed shells! Ta da, success! By 10:30 a.m., I was sharing samples with as many folks as I could and delighted when they came back for more.

Prep work was done, yesterday, so no-rain dancing was the biggest thing on the agenda! One comment was that my pasta shells were just right -- not too mushy nor too hard. The trick is to not cook them longer than 15 minutes in the salted water. I removed them with a spider strainer from the boiling water into the colander; then, ran them under cold water to stop further cooking.
Don't worry about separating the ones that have worked their way inside others, you can do this when it's time for stuffing. I fixed a whole box of the large pasta shells. 

Filling:  1-1/2 cups scrambled, cooked, lean hamburg
               10 oz. diced tomatoes, peeled, cored and seeded
               8 oz. chopped green chili peppers
               8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. Colby cheese, shredded
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  4 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 Tablespoons parsley leaves
2 teaspoons marjoram leaves
2 teaspoons oreganoa leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except eggs and olive oil, and puree in food processor. Pour into mixing bowl, then stir in beaten eggs. Mixture will be very soft.

Lightly grease pan with olive oil. Fill each shell cavity with mixture, then place side by side in pan, filling to top.

            Cover and bake in preheated solar oven for approximately 1-1/2 hours.  Normally, I would serve these shells in either a Bolognese or Alfredo sauce; but, that just seemed too messy for folks to be walking around with and most were more than happy with the filled shell, by itself. They were cut in three's to fit the mini-cups.
  All in all, a lovely day at the Market 


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