Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells to Start the New Year
Happy 2012! It’s so good to be back. We had a great Christmas break. All 5 of us home together for 10 full days. It was wonderful fantastic, oh heck who am I kidding, even though I love my family dearly, I couldn’t wait for the 4 of them to go back to school and work so I could have the house back to myself today.
All kidding aside, it really was a good break though. We hung out with family and friends. We ate, we drank. We watched movies, we ate. We shopped, we ate. We played on our electronics, we ate. We read, we played games, we ate. Do you see a pattern here?
My backside is a little bigger, my belly a little bit squishier and Weight Watchers sent me a personal invitation to join for FREE so I get the hint that I need to cut back on the calories. But don’t worry, just because I over indulged this past month, doesn’t mean you are only going to get low-fat, low-calorie recipes for the next 2 months. I like you too much to put you through that.
Nope, what I’m going to suggest to you is to just eat a little less of the good food I put in front of you. Even the sweet stuff. For example, instead of eating 4 – 6 of these cheese filled pasta shells, eat only 3 or don’t serve the delicious Garlic Pull Apart Bread with it. Oh man, that would be so good though now that I think about it. See how easily distracted I get when I think about good food.
And I have to warn you, there’s something with this particular recipe. It’s almost a swear word in our house. It’s the “V” word. You know – vegetarian. I told you I was married to a meat and potatoes guy so when I serve a meatless meal (which is not very often) he finds ways to suggest how meat would go well in the recipe. And you know what, he’s almost always right. Like for this recipe, he suggested some Italian sausage be added to the sauce. Yum! So if your meat lover is strict about his beliefs – by all means, serve it with some sausage or hamburger or pepperoni. We don’t want the poor guy eating something he’s not comfortable with.
So as we start off 2012, eat well – but not too well. I don’t want your backside getting bigger or your belly a little bit squishier and I certainly don’t want Weight Watchers sending you personal invitations in the mail.
Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Love this easy recipe. You can have it started and on the table in less than an hour.
Yield: 5 - 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
1 (8 oz.) package (about 20 shells) Jumbo Pasta Shells
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 (8 oz.) pkg. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (32 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions for a little bit firmer shell. When done to desired firmness, drain and rinse with cold water.
3. While pasta is cooking, place 1 – 1 ½ cups of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan to keep the pasta from sticking.
4. In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese.
5. To make stuffing the pasta shells easier, I put my filling into a disposable pastry bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can put it into a Ziploc bag and cut a corner off. Pipe cheese filling into shells.
6. Place cheese stuffed shells in the pan.
7. Drizzle some of the spaghetti sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
8. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
9. Warm up the rest of the spaghetti sauce and serve with the pasta if desired.
10. Serve with a side salad and/or bread to complete the meal.