February 16, 2011

Elegant and Kid-Approved Dinner


Valentine's Day Dinner Stuffed Shells

When I was thinking about a Valentine’s dinner, it wasn’t going to be the same since CycleGuy lives and works in San Francisco. But I wanted to let BabyGirl and her AuntZ know they are loved. I wanted something that BabyGirl could help make but would also be special and fun. And I wanted to be able to get everything at Smart & Final because I would be shopping while she was at one of her classes and that is the closest store.

We decided on stuffed shells with salad and marinated tomatoes for dinner. BabyGirl would enjoy making the ricotta cheese mixture and stuffing the shells. And we decided to add spinach For dessert we went for something a little more unique. If you’ve never had grilled or roasted fruit you’re missing out! We decided to roast peaches, nectarines and plums and serve them with a honey-blood orange ricotta creme.

Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 box large shell pasta
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce, I used La Romanella Four Cheese sauce (yum!)
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup La Romanella grated parmesan cheese
2 cups La Romanella part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped spinach, drained
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 eggs

Prepare shells according to package and set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients (save about 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese) until everything is incorporated and without lumps. Fill each pasta shell with the spinach/cheese mixture. Cover bottom of casserole dish with approximately 1/4 cup of pasta sauce. (Note: I did not do this because my family prefers it this way). Place pasta shells in the casserole dish in one layer. Spoon sauce over the shells, sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top (Note, again: My family doesn’t like it with cheese on top). Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes. Serve with a wonderful salad!

Roasted Stone Fruit with Honey-Blood Orange Ricotta Creme


1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups basil, loosely packed
1 orange, juiced
1 cup honey

2 pounds stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, plums)

In a food processor combine first 4 ingredients until incorporated. Transfer mixture to zip top bag. Cut stone fruit to remove stone/pit. Cut into quarters. Place fruit in bag with marinade. Seal bag to allow fruit to marinate at least 30 minutes. After marinading, discard liquid and place fruit on foil covered baking sheet. Roast in oven at 400F for 20-25 min, or until caramelized. Fruit may be grilled also.

Honey Orange Basil Marinade

Roasted Fruit

Honey-Blood Orange Ricotta Creme

1 cup La Romanella ricotta cheese
1 orange, juiced (I used a blood orange to make the creme a light pink)
3/4 cup honey

In a food processor combine all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Roasted Fruit with Honey Blood Orange Ricotta Creme

These were easy to make and were prepared ahead so we were able to spend time with AuntZ when she came over, instead of being in the kitchen. When AuntZ came over she and BabyGirl made Lavender Lemonade to add to our pink theme!

Lavender Lemonade

We had a really nice dinner and BabyGirl loved her shells and dessert. It was fun to have a pink dessert that was healthy and enjoyed by both adult and kids. And Lavender Lemonade is always a hit!

If you have a Smart & Final near you, you really should check them out. They have family-size items as well as food-service sizes and their prices are very competitive. I’ve been shopping at Smart & Final for many years because they are conveniently located near my bank, are always clean, the employees are helpful and their prices help me stay within budget.

In addition, Smart & Final is giving away a trip for Sonoma Wine Tour trip for 2. Like Smart & Final on Facebook and enter to win. There are specific eligibility requirement, so read all the details closely! Good Luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Collective Bias as part of the SFSmarties program for Smart & Final. All opinions, images, and recipes are my own. I retain copyright to all content.



Kim P February 16, 2011 at 6:37 am

Sara, this looks very yummy indeed! I like how you posed your items for the pictures. Looks great. I’m sure Baby Girl loved being able to help make this very special dinner, I remember my boys enjoying helping me. The dessert is awesome, I have made stone fruit on the grill but never added a sauce like this one. I’m looking forward to trying soon. Mathew is coming for a visit and I think this would be a wonderful dinner & dessert to make for him. BTW, I entered the contest!!! Hope I win!

Ariana February 16, 2011 at 7:28 am

OMG Sarah, those dishes look amazing!!! They made my mouth water. YUMMM!

Amy @ Dealusional February 17, 2011 at 4:37 am

I never would’ve thought to roast fruit in a marinade like that! I think we’re going to have to try that!

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