Today I was on the Marilyn Denis Show and I participated in her Battle of the Experts.  I was up against Chef extraordinaire Rodney Bowers!  

Photo by: The Marilyn Denis Show
I love Marilyn Denis…she’s humble, genuine and very welcoming!  I felt like part of the family during the show.  Her staff are also all so lovely! I’ve been watching Marilyn for as long as I can remember – From the radio show to her various daytime television shows – I can’t get enough of her!  She’s literally one of the funniest women in media (in my opinion!)  
I did a gender reveal on her show back in April of this year so I was particularly excited for Marilyn to meet my newest addition. Upon meeting little D, Marilyn said “come to auntie Marilyn” and cuddled my son like he was family (I can’t wait to tell little D about that when he is older)!  Then little D spit up on her – of course!  This child never EVER spits up but waits until he is in the arms of Marilyn Denis to spit up! I was mortified!  Marilyn was completely fine with it which made me feel much better about it.

Photo by: The Marilyn Denis Show
I also had the pleasure of meeting the hilarious and gorgeous Andrea Martin. 

 We spoke about what it means exactly to be a “home cook”.  She listened intently as I explained to her that I don’t call myself a “chef” because I would never let the hard work of those fine people who worked in the “trenches”, started from the bottom and also those who worked hard through culinary school, go unrecognized.  My passion for cooking, however, is immeasurable.  I’m proud to call myself a “home cook” – it’s where I was taught how to cook (by my late mother) and I’m really proud of that!    

The opportunities I have been given as a home cook are a result of my drive and my “no fear” attitude.  I don’t fear what my critics have to say about me nor do I fear failure.  As a result of my positive attitude, any failures have always turned into opportunities.  I am very proud of what I have made of my love of cooking and I am going to continue to move forward using my passion as the driving force.

I highly recommend Andrea’s book “Lady Parts” – I literally can’t put it down. I was up until 1 am reading and giggling to myself! She tells a story about how Johnny Carson asked her to be on his show 3 weeks after she had her son and how she had to breastfeed in his green room. My son is only 3.5 months old – I had the same experience in Marilyn Denis’ boardroom! I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity for the world! I was also born the same year as Andrea’s son Joe! funny! Anyway, go and get her book – she is seriously funny, inspiring and relate-able.

Here is the recipe I made today which is available on Marilyn’s website. To see the show and to get this and other great recipes go to The Marilyn Denis Website! I visit often for anything lifestyle related especially DIY tips, recipes and Marilyn’s fashion blog (Marilyn is my style icon – I love her clothes!) Her stylist Alexis Honce writes the fashion blog and she is amazing at what she does. Alexis is another person who is just incredibly lovely! She was just named one of the top 1
0 stylists in Toronto by BlogTO!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my experience – oh, and try my recipe!

Julie’s Baked Sausage-Stuffed Pasta Shells

Serves 4

Photo by: The Marilyn Denis Show

Stuffed Shell Ingredients:
16 jumbo pasta shells
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lb mild extra-lean Italian ground sausage
6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh parsley and basil, chopped
10 ounces spinach, chopped

4 cups bottled tomatoes, strained
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Cheese Topping:
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook until just slightly softened but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drizzle with olive oil and toss; set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the sausage meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and longer pink, about 5 minutes (you can use a potato masher utensil to help break up the sausage meat). Add the tomato paste and incorporate into the sausage mixture. Add the spinach, Parsley and basil and cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, add the strained tomatoes,oregano and salt; spread a layer of sauce over the bottom of a casserole baking dish. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the sausage mixture. Line up the stuffed shells in the casserole dish. Top the shells with tomato sauce and cheeses; cover and bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is golden, about 10 minutes.

With Love,
Jules for Daily Tiramisu