Wednesday, October 13, 2010

stuffed shells to share

This morning I spent a little time in the kitchen preparing another meal to throw in the freezer to make life a smidge easier after our little man enters this world.  Stuffed shells were always my meal of choice for my birthday dinner when I was growing up.  I still love them, but this recipe that I'm about to share with you is a stuffed shell recipe all grown up.  It has ingredients in it that I would have "eww-ed" at when I was younger, but I guess you can say my tastes have matured over the years and this recipe is now my absolute favorite for stuffed shells.

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c cottage cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, optional (sounds weird, but add it - the flavor it adds is incredible!)
jumbo shell noodles, cooked and drained

1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp each dried basil and parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp each sugar and dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a skillet, brown sausage and onion; drain.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the spinach, cream cheese, and egg.  Add 1 c. mozzarella, cheddar, cottage cheese, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and cinnamon (if desired); mix well.

stuffed shell filling all mixed together
Stuff shells and arrange in a greased 13x9x2 baking dish.  Combine sauce ingredients; mix well.  Spoon over shells.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  Return to oven for 5 minute or until cheese melts.   Enjoy!

To freeze the shells, I took a tip from my mother that she said my grandmother does when making stuffed shells.  Instead of putting them all in a casserole dish, like you would if you're just making these for dinner that same evening, my grandmother lines the shells up on a cookie sheet and freezes them individually - that way she can pull out as many shells as needed for a given dinner.  Come time to cook these babies up, I'll just take out enough shells for me and Travis, or enough for us and guests, and toss them in the oven following the above baking instructions.  Easy peasy!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

I even had my very own audience in the kitchen this morning:


  1. those look really good, are you using your camera or trav's camera? your pics are good too!

  2. Thanks, I'm using Travis' camera. The quality is so much better on his, although my skills are lacking - I just point and shoot (and then edit) ;)