Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: Birthdays in the time of pneumonia


Birthdays in the time of pneumonia

I always let my family pick their favorite foods for their birthday dinner, they are the 'deciders' for the day, and it works. I have 2 birthdays back to back in February. First my husband and the next day my son and 2 days later it's Valentines day. Its quite a week.

This year I have been sick, sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor and she said "you have a...cold" What? Pneumonia? Strep? Oh no just a cold. WHAT? I have to be half dead to go to the doctor and all I have is a cold. Pfft. Turns out I really DID have pneumonia but was diagnosed only after: a second visit to the doctor which was precipitated my me sitting in the corner and crying because my kids were so mean to me (delirium, I swear!), bursting in to tears at the sound of my husbands voice and general zombie unkempt behavior(inability to shower included!). Ew. Let me ask you this have you ever dragged yourself in to the doctors office wearing one shoe and 3 coats? No? Hmm am I the only one? Anyhoodle they will get you right on in, they don't want you sitting in the waiting room scaring the little kids. I think I liked the waiting room better, there wasn't anyone trying to stick a miniature toilet brush up my nose to get a flu culture. I didn't know my sinuses went so far back there.

Back to birthday dinners, this year my husband picked curry. I don't mind but the rest of my family turns up their nose at curry, oh they'll eat but not with gusto. Then on my husbands birthday he was sick so we made 'easy for sick people food' AKA breakfast. The next day we went on to have frozen pizza, boneless hot wings (?!?) and tater tots for my sons favorite meal. *sigh* I love my son. I love my son. I love my son. That's my 'oven' dinner for the whole year. There used to be a time when that was high cuisine, thankfully I have moved beyond that spot in my life.

The really big planning was what to feed everyone on Sunday when we would all get together and celebrate birthdays and Valentines and life in general. What to fix? It had to be a carefully chosen dinner that tastes great, presents well and that everyone will eat. We finally all agreed on cheese stuffed shells, our new favorite dinner.
It's a serious trifecta. We all LOVE it. It can be as healthy as you want it to be. The price is not too bad at 3 dollars for a box of 35 big shells and they rest is cheese and sauce, maybe 7 bucks maximum?

Then I was diagnosed with pneumonia and wiped out, we cancelled all plans for parties and dates. BOO! Come Sunday when I actually felt somewhat alive I decided to make the stuffed shells at least just for us. They were delicious as usual and the rest of the family will just have to believe me on that until next time.

This recipe feeds 5 and makes 2 nice packets of leftovers for my son to reheat in the toaster oven. (we don't microwave)

one box of large shells
16 ounce carton of ricotta
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup frozen spinach,squeezed dry and snipped fine
6 cups of spaghetti sauce -I make my own but you can use store bought if you like

use 2 9X13 pans

prepare the shells according to package directions
meanwhile mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, oregano and spinach, set aside
bring the spaghetti sauce to a simmer and reduce to low
when the shells are done drain and rinse
now it's time to prepare the shells
stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place in a 9X13 pan
if you have cheese leftover divide it between the stuffed shells until it is gone
spoon the sauce around and lightly over the shells evenly
cover the pans with foil, bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes
remove from the oven, remove foil and sprinkle with the reserved cheese
let the shells rest for 10 minutes before serving

I like to mix 2 tablespoons of pesto into the cheese mixture for spicy change. I also
add kale or swiss chard to the cheese mixture when I have it and my family never knows.

Check the sweet jadeite and the slew of homemade valentines too.


  1. That recipe sounds delicious! Not a great week to be sick with all those birthdays- I'm glad everyone is feeling better! Any more tips for going microwave -free? I am trying, but it's very hard. I guess I'm addicted... Thanks, Kristin

  2. Oh my microwave free living...I think I write a whole post about that :) I love it my oldest hates it. Look for a post later today OK? Laura


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