Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stuffed Shells

We love Italian food in our house as some of you may already know. I'm a pasta fanatic and my mini me is following right behind me. The girl loves her some spaghetti! My Mom requested stuffed shells for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I figured how hard can it be to throw together a recipe? Throw together is exactly what I did and I was actually pretty surprised on how well the meal turned out. In the past I had never been a big stuffed pasta fan usually because it would involved some sort of meat. This time I stuck with cheese and boy was it a winner.

This recipe produces enough to make two 9x13 baking pans. This would be great for serving a crowd, freezing for later, or my favorite idea...sharing with a friend who just had a baby or someone who has a family to feed who may be sick and unable to cook. There's one pan for your family and one for theirs and you don't have double the work! I made mine tonight to celebrate Daniel's 33rd birthday with family. Happy Birthday Sweetie...the girls and I love you dearly!!!

(Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. This was taken by my phone the first time I made them. Last nights batch got a little to brown on top because we were busy playing cards and someone wasn't paying attention.)

Stuffed Shells~

2 boxes jumbo shells (I only use about a box and a half of the shells)
1- 46 oz. container ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic salt
3 tbsp. minced dried onion
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
16 oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. bad shredded Parmesan cheese
67 oz. container Prego sauce

1.) In a large pot bring water to a boil, salt water, add jumbo shells. Cook until soft on the outside but still hard on the inside. Drain and allow to cool enough to handle. (Have no clue why that's highlighted.)

2.) In a medium mixing bowl add ricotta cheese, pepper, garlic salt, parsley, dried onion, 4 eggs, 1 cup sauce, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix until well blended.

3.) In baking pan add around 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Stuff each shell with about one tablespoon of cheese mixture. Layer shells in one layer to the pan until full.

4.) Top each pan with the remaining sauce, around three cups each.

5.) Top shells with the remaining shredded cheeses starting with the mozzarella.

6.) Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for fifty minutes or until heated through. Uncover and bake an additional ten minutes to lightly brown cheese on top.

I served this meal with a side of corn and a nice tossed garden salad topped off with a nice loaf of french bread. Of course since it's Daniel's birthday we had birthday cake for dessert.