Sunday, March 20, 2011
Cheese Stuffed Jumbo Shells
Sometimes the recipes on the back or sides of boxes are wonderful - and this is one of those times. I basically followed the recipe on the back of the Meijer noodle box for Jumbo Shells. I used to make this all the time and it is a hit at our house. I quit making it when I learned of our different food allergies. A couple weeks ago I made it and it was the most delicious cheesy stuffed shells.
This wasn't just any dinner - we had 15 guests, all high school girls basketball players - and let me tell you that while they are incredibly polite you KNOW if your meal is a hit or not. I have been hosting "team eats" several times a year for 6 years now - I do it for every sport my kids are in - I love it. That night they ate every scrap of food, so I think it was a hit.
I want you to start with the Cheesy filling, then make the meat sauce, and finally boil your noodles - ok?
2 containers of ricotta cheese (about 30 oz)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
2 frozen spinach cubes - thawed - optional (I cook spinach and then blend it and freeze in icecube trays)
2 eggs, beaten
1 TBS parsley (I used dried but fresh would be better)
salt and pepper
Mix it all in a big bowl with a spoon. Put it in the refrigerator until well chilled. When you are ready to fill the shells put about 1/3 in a big plastic bag - snip the corner off and squeeze like you are frosting a cake.
I then made a homemade meat sauce - to which I added 2 Italian Sausages, cooked in the sauce and then sliced. This could totally be a vegetarian dish if you used a marinara sauce instead -which I have done in the past. I like to serve this on Fridays in Lent.
Boil your noodles in salty water.
You will need 2 casserole dishes - lightly oil them(I used coconut oil but butter or lard would work too). Then put about a half of a cup of your meat sauce in each and spread it around. Place your FILLED shells on the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the shells and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Serve immediately.
While I haven't done it I am sure this can also be made ahead (up to the point where you cook it) and frozen. It would make a great meal to take to a new mommy!
This makes enough to serve oh, about 8 people - if you are serving 15 basketball players you will want to double the recipe.
I served this with a salad and garlic cheese bread. And for dessert I made my famous strawberry poke the hole cake - truly a most delicious dessert. Its not my recipe, and well, it isn't very healthy - but Dang is it ever delicious.
I am linking this to the Hearth and Soul Hop!