Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Stuffed Shells

These shells are brimming with sausage, spinach, and cheese and so easy to make! Simple enough to make for a weeknight but also perfect for freezing ahead of time! This recipe makes 2 pans so it's perfect for a hungry family or for freezing for later.

When I was in the throes of my crazy work hours I had this brilliant idea of using the weekend to cook, prep, and freeze meals for the coming week. What I didn't realize is that I would be 1) working almost every weekend and/or 2) so exhausted that all I wanted to do was sleep. But before I came to that realization, I did make a couple of dishes that I stored away for later. And this was one of them!

{which is also why you're looking at a pre-baked picture!}

I actually shared this recipe 4 years ago and it was a winner then and a winner again in our house. Who doesn't love stuffed shells? These are delicious! I also love that they have built in portion control. Because I may or may not struggle with portion control...

This recipe makes enough for a 9x13 pan PLUS an 8x8 pan. Which means that unless you have 4 hungry teenage boys living at your house, you can freeze a pan for later!

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Stuffed Shells
1 (12 ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (9-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 (32 ounce) jar tomato sauce with basil

Bring a large pot of water to boil and lightly salt. Add the shells and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain on paper towels.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture until well blended. 

Preheat oven to 350. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 and 8x8 baking dish. 

Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling and arrange them in a prepared baking dish. Dollop remaining tomato sauce over top.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan, and bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes. 

If freezing: don't bake. Instead, once all the shells are arranged and dolloped with sauce, wrap the pans tightly in plastic wrap followed by foil. When ready to cook, defrost in refrigerator until thawed. Remove the foil and plastic wrap; discard the plastic wrap and place the foil back on the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, and bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes. 

Source: adapted from Redbook Magazine

1 comment :

  1. Very nice to see you blogging again! :) I made something similar to this last winter, only it was a ground meatloaf mix (1/3 each of beef, pork and veal) instead of sausage. The sausage sounds so delicious. But I did love getting the spinach in there. Great picture, too!


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