I used to have two ladder-style shelves, each constructed from two separate pieces that fit neatly together to form a loose hinge so the shelves appear that they’re leaning on the wall. One sits in my living room, positioned neatly in a corner next to a window, filled with novels, picture frames, a fake plant that most people think is real and dead. The other shelf used to live on the other side of the room, closer to where my kitchen and eating area are. That piece was for cookbooks.
I don’t know if it was the weight of the cookbooks on the shelf or if I had simply done a hasty job of assembling said shelf, but the latter unit always looked as if it were about to keel over. Friends would come over and point out to me that my shelf looked as though it were about to come crashing to the ground under its own weight, but I would just laugh it off and insist that my furniture assembly abilities far surpassed all else and that there was no way the shelf would come crumbling down.
You know where this is going.
In December, on what could have very well been my busiest workday of the year, two days before my annual holiday party, I decided to move some furniture. I wanted to shift a chair, as well as my Leaning Tower of Bookshelf, just a few inches to the left so that I would have room to put a Christmas tree up before my party. Shelf comes crashing down, books go with it. Shelf breaks, I purchase a newer, sturdier shelf to replace it and somehow con my friend Charlette into putting it together for me, since I did such a bang-up job the first time.
For whatever reason, my cookbooks have gotten more play since I replaced the shelf. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer afraid of setting a natural disaster in motion each time I remove one from its place, but I have been cooking from books more often in the past few months and one of the books I recently extracted from its new home is Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Dinners.
There are a lot of delicious-looking, healthy-sounding recipes in the book, but naturally the one that jumped off the pages and begged me to make it was cheese-laden and less-than good for you.
So I had did what any normal weight-conscious woman would do and ate two bowls.
Pam Anderson’s Shells and Cheese for Everyone
Serves 2 (I kid, I kid. Serves 8-10).
From Perfect One Dish Dinners
What You Need
1 pound medium sized Pasta Shells
1 pound grated sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 container (16 oz) Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 container (16 oz) Sour Cream
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup plain dry Bread Crumbs
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Make sure oven rack is in the lower middle position and heat oven to 350F degrees. Coat 13×9 baking dish or dutch oven with cooking spray. Following package directions, cook entire box of pasta until just tender.
Mix cheeses and sour cream in a large bowl. Add the hot pasta and toss to coat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer to casserole dish. Mix bread crumbs, parsley, and butter together in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the shells and cheese (I forgot the parsley. I didn’t miss it).
Bake 30-35 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and crumbs are golden brown. Don’t share the leftovers with anyone.Print This Recipe