New driver gives license to cook

Published 1:34 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It’s softball season at the Hall house and we’re definitely in full swing. With three games a week and the regular things that need to be done around the house I have to admit that I am not getting much unpacking done. Of course as someone reminded me yesterday, Emily will get her license at the end of this month and then she can drive herself.

It’s really different when you get to the third child.

When Holly got her license, David and I barely let her drive for the first two months and she could forget being out after dark.

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Then Matthew got his, by then Holly was a busy senior and I needed the help with Emily. But still I was pretty overbearing about him driving around much.

Now here we are with the Emily and I have to say I guess I’m looking forward to her getting her license. Sometimes it will be a huge help. Since she has to be at her games 30 minutes early for practice, that is 30 minutes I can finish cooking dinner or clean up the kitchen. She can take herself to school and I can head on to work. I can go to the grocery store after work and then come home instead of picking her up after cheerleading. But unfortunately for me, as Emily gains independence I lose time with her and as a mom that makes me sad. So in my extra time I’ll try to be sure that I cook things she likes, and we have a few minutes together somewhere else in the day.

I know I am not the only busy person in the afternoon trying to put dinner on the table so here is a recipe for a dish that my Emily loves. I don’t have exact measurements because I just make it from scratch every time.

Stuffed Shells

1 box large pasta shells

1 pound hamburger meat

1/2 white onion, minced

Dried Basil

Dried oregano

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Grated Parmesan cheese

Large jar of spaghetti sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Fill a large pot with water and when it comes to a boil add some salt and separate the pasta shells and add to the water. Cook until they are almost done, remember they will cook some more in the oven. Drain the pasta in a colander and sprinkle with olive oil, toss to coat and let set while you prepare the filling. In a large skillet over medium-high heat begin browning your hamburger meat. When it is half way done, drain most of the fat from the pan and add in the minced onion, basil, oregano and garlic powder and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Then remove the meat from the heat and stir in some of the grated Parmesan. I like to use fresh here but you can use the grated or shredded from the store, not the kind in the green container. Place your shells in the casserole dish and fill them with the meat mixture. Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce over them. Fill your sauce jar halfway with water, close the top and shake well to get all of the sauce. Then pour this over the shells also. Cover the top of shells with shredded Mozzarella cheese and place in oven. Remember everything is cooked so all you have to do is let it get hot. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Christina Hall can be reached by e-mail at