Saturday, June 10, 2023

Stuff it or Smother it!

Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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The following recipes have been tried and tweaked or created by yours truly! I often say that if I ever get the chance to have my own Food Truck that it would be themed around smothering food with other food. After all, what is more American than that? So, I would like to share a few of my favorite recipes that require you to either stuff it, or smother it!

Stuff it!

My family’s Stuffed Manicotti with cheese and spinach

  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 manicotti shells
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container 15oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Boil shells according to package instructions
  3. Drain well and arrange in a single layer on an oiled rimmed baking sheet
  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, and lemon zest
  5. Stir in spinach and season filling to taste with salt and pepper
  6. Transfer filling to a large zip-top plastic bag
  7. Twist and squeeze bag so filling is in one corner
  8. Cut one corner and begin piping filling into both ends of shells
  9. Arrange shells in an 8-inch square glass baking dish
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk together marinara sauce, oregano, and cream
  11. Pour sauce evenly over stuffed shells and top with ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  12. Bake until sauce in center of dish is bubbling and cheese is browned in spots (about 30 mins)
  13. Let sit 5 minutes before serving

Stuffed Chicken Breast (thanks to

chicken breasts
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 to 10 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 5 to 6 grape tomatoes; sliced in half
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut slits across the chicken breast about 3/4 of the way through being careful not to cut all the way through.
  2. Depending on the size of your chicken breast, you’re going to want around 6 to 8 slits per chicken breast.
  3. Stuff each slit with a slice of mozzarella cheese, half a grape tomato and a basil leaf.
  4. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish that has been coated with non-stick baking spray.
  5. Brush each chicken breast with olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  7. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees.

Smother it!

My famous Gouda and Cheddar Mac n Cheese smothered Greek Meatballs 


For the Greek meatballs:

  • Handful of parsley and mint
  • 2 medium eggplants, finely chopped, roasted for 30 minutes
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 500g beef or lamb minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Fine lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Mix all ingredients together well
  2. Roll into balls, spoon sized
  3. Fry or bake until they are cooked through
  4. Serve with lemon and tzatziki sauce or smother in my mac n cheese…

For the mac n cheese:

  • 1 package elbow macaroni or penne
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded smoked gouda
  • 1 cup milk to start (may increase amount as sauce is made)
  • 1 teaspoon flour to start (may increase amount to make roux)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions
  2. While pasta is cooking, start making the roux for the sauce
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan
  4. Allow to melt and cook for a few seconds before starting to add flour
  5. Whisk flour with butter until incorporated
  6. Slowly add milk to roux, while whisking
  7. Once milk is added, allow to heat, not boil, stirring occasionally
  8. Once milk is heated, add cheeses, alternatively until completely incorporated
  9. Allow to heat through, add spices, salt, pepper, garlic etc to taste

Drain pasta and return to pot, mix in cheese sauce, top with parsley flakes if desired and serve over Greek meatballs

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