Thursday, January 19, 2012

Easy Five Ingredient Stuffed Shells (OMG I can cook!)

It's no secret that I am not a domestic goddess. I'm lucky that my Mother-in-Law is quite the chef, especially when it comes to Italian food. When she stayed with us for a week back in August, she showed me a few things in the kitchen and I couldn't have been more grateful.

Stuffed shells are her specialty, and they quickly became my new favorite meal. I make it often for dinner guests or just if we want something that will yield a lot of leftovers. And I should add that they are ah-may-zing.

Mrs. G's Stuffed Shells - Printable version!
1 box Jumbo Shells
2 28 oz cans of tomato sauce (can use less if you aren't a huge sauce fan)
1 32 oz container of Ricotta cheese - we use part skim
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 egg

Ricotta cheese, jumbo shells, tomato sauce, egg, mozzarella cheese
We're not going to use all that Mozzarella - I just buy in bulk ;)
Cook shells about 2 minutes short of the al dente time listed on the box. It is usually about 7 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Jumbo shells cooking
I lurve me some pasta
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 of a jar of tomato sauce (~9 oz, you can eyeball it), all of the Ricotta cheese, egg, and 1 cup Mozzarella.
Tomato sauce, egg, and both cheeses
Tomato sauce, egg, and both cheeses
Mix it up well. It should look a little pink. If you would like, you could add some Italian seasoning. Personally, I think it has enough flavor without it and usually don't include it.
Cheeses, tomato sauce, and egg
It looks more appetizing in person, I promise
Once the shells are done, drain, then get ready to stuff! Take the remaining 2/3 can of tomato sauce and coat the bottom of a 9x13 pan and an 8x8 pan - yes, this recipe makes that many shells! I set everything up like this: pan #1, cheese mixture next to it, and shells in a colander in the sink.
Pan with sauce, cheese mixture, shells
My assembly line
I use a wooden spoon and put a large spoonful of the cheese mixture into each shell. You can put more or less depending upon how much you like cheese ;) Once you fill up the first pan, grab the second. Here's what my shells look like post-stuffing:
After mixure is added and shells are placed in pans
Naked shells
Pour the other can of tomato sauce over the two pans of shells, and then sprinkle the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese over them. At this point, I put a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of tin foil over the smaller pan and put it in the freezer. It freezes so well!
Shells topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese
I'm drooling, seriously
Pin It! Cover the pan you are going to bake with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. The cheese should be bubbly. If it isn't quite done, remove the foil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. *For heating from the freezer: remove the plastic wrap, put tin foil back on, and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. Silly me forgot to take a picture of what the shells like once they come out of the oven. Oops ::embarrassed face::

Pan #1 usually makes about 6 servings for us, and Pan #2 makes about 3. I should add that I eat 6-7 shells at a time. If you aren't a piggy like me, it will yield even more servings for you.

Aside from being delicious and easy, this meal is usually cheap, too. If I stock up when everything is on sale I can easily pull this off for less than $8 total.

Take that, everyone who doubted I could ever make anything edible :)


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