Sunday, July 10, 2011

Super Easy Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells





























This one is definitely kid friendly, fast and super easy!!    My little ones love to help out in the kitchen, no matter where we go. This was a weekend trip to my mother's house... where every herb imaginable grows in abundance and little hands are always welcome in the meal prep. - so now you know where my culinary point of view comes from, huh?

This recipe is mostly staple items that you likely have in your pantry already.  We cook with lots of fresh herbs here (bright vibrant taste, huge money saver, teaches the kids more principles than I can list here)... but you could certainly use dried herbs from the spice rack if you have them on hand.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of large dried pasta shells
  • 1 - 1.25 pounds ground beef
  • seasonings of your choice
    • salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, Italian seasoning
  • cheese filling
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, 1 tsp dried basil
  • spaghetti sauce of your choice
  • Toppings
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmigiano reggiano, Italian seasoning

Large dried pasta shells.  Boil according to directions in a large pot of salted water.  Drain, rinse, and let cool.

Browned ground beef.  Seasoned simply to your liking  - salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, italian seasoning ... whatever you would like.

A super fast filling of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, salt, pepper, dried basil, an egg.


Gasp!  Yes.... a premade sauce .... from a can!  This DelMonte brand sauce is cheap and fabulous and doesn't even need additional seasoning.  Told you this was fast and easy!
 Assembly:


Step 1 - add filling.

Step 2 - add meat.  (This is Lily's job)
  
Arrange the stuffed shells in the casserole dish on top of the sauce.  The sauce in the bottom will keep them from sticking or getting all dried out.  You don't really want them to form a "crust" on the bottom. We want tender pasta.  I personally like them really "saucy" but make them according to your family's taste.

Step 3 - Add the rest of the sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.

Step 4 - Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the sauce, then a little fresh grated parmesano reggiano.  Sprinkle with additional fresh or dried herbs if you would like. 
** Cover and put in the fridge if you are making this ahead of time for tomorrow's after work meal.**

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or so.  Everything is cooked; you are just getting everything hot and melty and gooey!

And I had to include a photo of Canon out in the garden "shopping" for fresh herbs and baby tomatoes.  This large travel mug was perfect so that he could hold his produce.  They are definitely learning which herbs are which! 

To make this super DUPER quick and easy, you could have your meat browned ahead of time.  Also, for my friends who get home late from work (you know who you are) and still need to make dinner for the family, the whole thing could be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge.  In that case, you could walk in from work, take it out of the fridge, pop it in the oven and let it heat up along with the oven. 

Written Method:
Boil large dried pasta shells according to directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain, rinse, and let cool.
 
Brown the ground beef.  Season it to your liking - salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning.
 
Make an easy filling of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, salt, pepper, dried basil, an egg.  Add the filling to the shells. 
Add some of the meat mixture to each shell.  Then arrange the stuffed shells in the casserole dish on top of the sauce. The sauce in the bottom will keep them from sticking or getting all dried out. You don't really want them to form a "crust" on the bottom. We want tender pasta. I personally like them really "saucy" but make them according to your family's taste.
 
Add the rest of the sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the sauce, then a little fresh grated Parmigiano reggiano.  Sprinkle with additional fresh or dried herbs if you would like.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or so. Everything is cooked; you are just getting     everything hot and melty and gooey!   
** Cover and put in the fridge if you are making this ahead of time for tomorrow's after work meal.**
Please visit my Recipe Index for lots of ideas!   Here are a few different things:
 
 

3 comments:

  1. Hi Julie...i tried this today. I couldnt find the pasta shells over seas but used cannellonni noodles...my son loved them....thanks so much for these great ideas...next to try is your bowtie noodle recipe
    Denise :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise - That's awesome! Two successful recipes down, lots to go! :)

      Delete
  2. Made this for my boyfriend and I last night and it was delicious and not to mention fast and easy!! We loved it!!

    ReplyDelete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest