The Bored Girl's Kitchen











{April 21, 2014}   Stuffed Shells, Takes 1 and 2

Verdict: My husband prefers the one I cobbled together, I agreed with him until my first full plate of recipe 1 and then decided I preferred that one instead. It’s a bit creamier and almost a little sweeter, but recipe 2 almost tastes like little personal lasagnas.

On a Monday, I decided I wanted to make stuffed shells. I headed to the grocery store to get my supplies, recipe I fully intended to doctor in hand. Well, in phone. I planned to make them Tuesday, but something came up. Wednesday wouldn’t work because we host a weekly dinner with friends that had already been planned and had stuff divvied out for people to bring. Turns out on Thursday he wasn’t going to be home early enough to put them in the oven if I prepared them ahead of time. Friday rolls around and I realize it will probably be almost another week before I get a chance to make them for dinner, so I said “fuck it” and made them Friday afternoon as lunches for however long it took everything to run out. The bonus to waiting? I got to use up the the leftover meat from Wednesday too!

I could post the original recipe I messed with, but you’re probably here to see what I did and not what that lovely woman from Pinterest did, so I’ll just go with that. Stuffed shells are another one of those awesome dishes that there really isn’t a wrong way to make. Well, I’m sure there are actual wrong ways, but there’s definitely more than one right way.

What you’ll end up needing for sure:
– Jumbo pasta shells
– Sauce to line the bottom of the pan and pour on top of the shells
– Stuff that works well with your sauce and itself (ingredients that play well together)

What I used for recipe 1:
– Ground beef mixed with pizza sauce, leftover from making calzones
– 1 cup ricotta
– 1 cup cottage cheese
– A small Tupperware container of chopped mushrooms
– Salt and pepper to taste
– A can of pizza sauce
– Mozzarella and three cheese shredded cheeses

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What I used for recipe 2:
– Leftover taco meat
– A jar of spaghetti sauce
– The rest of the ricotta
– Shredded sharp cheddar
– Feta cheese
– Pepperoni

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I started by boiling water for the shells and got to work setting up a spot to start mixing things together for recipe 1. In a large bowl I combined the meat, ricotta, cottage cheese, and mushrooms and mixed it all together with a spatula.

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I noticed the water was boiling and added the entire box of shells to it. At this point I realized that I am not a smart man, and my pot was too small. So I got out a bigger one, transferred the contents, added more water, and wandered off to do some laundry, open a bottle of wine, and started preparing the baking dishes. Both dishes have different dimensions but seem to have roughly the same capacity so I wasn’t too picky with which one I was going to start with, and your biggest criteria should be that it holds what you’re making and won’t break while you’re cooking in it.

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Taking the dish nearest to me, I poured a thin layer of pizza sauce along the bottom. Once the shells are done cooking, drain them however you want and bring them to your work space. Fill the shells with the delicious concoction in your mixing bowl and place them in the dish. You’re done filling it when you run out of space, filling, or shells. I ran out of filling first, although I did cram the last few in there because I knew I was running low on filling and didn’t want to have a pan with only a handful of that flavor. Pour the remaining pizza sauce over the shells, top with the shredded cheese, set aside to start working on the other dish!

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Having run out of filling but not shells, I set about to make more filling.

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Raiding the fridge I saw the leftover taco meat, feta, and pepperoni and decided to give that a shot. I tossed the meat into the mixing bowl, added some spaghetti sauce and feta, and stirred. It didn’t look quite right, so the rest of the ricotta went in there too. Declared my new filling good enough and went to preheat the oven. The last time I made shells I swore the temperature was 350°. This recipe called for 400°, but I was using glass and according to my momma should drop the temperature 25°, so I settled on 375° and got back to the shells.

Line the new baking dish with some spaghetti sauce, making sure everything is covered evenly. Stuff your shells and add them to the dish. Cover them with the rest of the sauce, sprinkle some more feta and the sharp cheddar across the sauce, top off with a few pepperonis, and you’re just about ready for the oven!

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Cover your baking dishes with tin foil and put them in the oven. Set your timer for 20-25 minutes and go enjoy a glass of wine. Come back and take off the foil but leave everything in the oven for another 10 minutes or so to let the cheese really melt.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool before attempting to enjoy.

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And look at all the lunches we got!

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If you enjoyed this recipe, share it with your friends and let me know how it turns out for you!

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