Sunday, September 25, 2011

Easy Baked Shells

16 posts so far and none of them have used cheese and noodles! The wait is finally over. It isn't mac and cheese but is almost as good: stuffed shells! My husband loves lasagna almost as much as he loves me and I knew something lasagna-y would help make him feel better since he still has that darned cold. This is a recipe I whipped up and we both think it turned out incredibly well. The dude said it was as good as his beloved lasagna and ate two servings. The great thing is that it's easier to make than lasagna and easier to serve since there aren't any layers to reckon with. I promise the noodles will cook through in the oven! Two important notes: The shells are only going to be as good as your spaghetti sauce. I used this recipe because I had a bunch in my freezer and it's really good. Your results will be best if you use a sauce that you love! I also used my own garlic bread seasoning in the recipe, it may be too salty if you use seasoning that you purchased.

Easy Baked Shells

5 C spaghetti sauce
1 C water
1/2 t salt
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
15 oz container ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
2 C grated mozzarella, divided
1 egg
2 T garlic bread seasoning, plus more to sprinkle
1/2 t pepper
1/8 t ground nutmeg
30 jumbo pasta shells, uncooked (about 2/3 of a 12 oz package)
dried parsley to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 by 13 baking dish. Stir together the spaghetti sauce, water and salt. Spread about 1 cup in the bottom of the baking dish and set the rest aside. Squeeze the thawed spinach to get out as much moisture as possible and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, the egg, garlic bread seasoning, pepper and nutmeg and stir well to combine. Spoon about 1 tablespoon into each shell and place them as close together as possible in the baking dish. Top with the remaining spaghetti sauce, making sure that each shell is covered. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the shells are tender when poked with a fork. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella, a little extra garlic bread seasoning, and a bit of dried parsley. Return to oven to allow cheese to melt.

Yield: about 8 servings

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