Anyone else been spending all of your downtime poolside this summer? We certainly have. It can be such a bummer to have to stop the fun to go eat, so today I decided to prepare a themed lunch that we could eat poolside. These stuffed seashells are a cool (literally, because they’re meant to be eaten cold) take on the baked stuffed shells you might be familiar with. Instead of ricotta cheese, I used cream cheese and instead of pasta sauce, I drizzled the shells with my favorite extra virgin olive oil. And I served it atop a fresh summer salad with a fun and refreshing “fishbowl” drink (blue Gatorade). But best of all…I made the pasta shells purple just like the shells Ariel wears in The Little Mermaid! It was a perfect lunch for satiating hunger without feeling too full so we could get right back to living our best mermaid lives.
Stuffed Sea Shell Salad
- Jumbo Pasta Shells
- Purple Food Color
- 1 1/2 cups chopped frozen Spinach
- 1/2 cup minced portabello mushroom
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2/3 cup cream cheese
- 1/3 cup blue cheese
- extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste
- Salad of your choosing – I used a leafy green salad with cranberries and walnuts tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and found that it paired very well with the blue cheese in the shells. Alternately, you could use a Caesar salad and substitute the blue cheese for Parmesan.
- Bring water to a boil, add salt (I always boil my pasta in salty water for added flavor), several drops of food coloring, and pasta. Boil for about 10 minutes and then gently remove pasta shells from water and drain. Using your hands, coat shells in a little bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.
- In a medium skillet, saute onions and garlic in about a tsp of oil until translucent. Add in mushrooms, cooking until soft. Lastly, add in spinach and cook until thawed and hot. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove spinach from heat and combine well with cream cheese in a small bowl. Stir in blue cheese crumbles (or Parmesan).
- Fill each shell with about a tablespoon of the spinach and cream cheese mixture and place on top of your already prepared salad. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
There isn’t much to this part. I was inspired by the alcoholic version that was making its rounds on online a few summers ago and thought it would be cute to make a kid-friendly version to go with our Little Mermaid themed pool day. The “punch” itself is just blue Gatorade to help keep my little fishes hydrated, but you can use any type of blue liquid you prefer. For the “cups” I found these small actual fishbowls at the local dollar store, filled them with ice and then used the ice to hold the Swedish Fish in place. The original version has Nerds candy on the bottom to represent the aquarium pebbles, but I just didn’t feel the need to add more sugar to the glass I was handing my children so I decided to skip that part. They’ll never know.