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Old 05-03-2016, 09:31 AM   #1
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Stuffed Shells

My favorite part of Christmas Dinner!

Ingredients:
2lbs ground round
spaghetti sauce
3 1lb boxes Jumbo Shells (you will probably only need 2, buy extra one just incase)
4 boxes frozen spinach
30oz container ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 disposable lasagna pans

Directions:
*microwave spinach as directed
*squeez spinach dry
*brown meat
*mix all ingredients in large bowl
*fill pot up with water
*add 1 tbsp oil to boiling water so shells don't stick together
*cook shells as directed for baking use
*fill shells with mixture
*line bottom of pan with sauce
*add layer of stuffed shells to pan (don't overlap them)
*line top of stuffed shells with sauce
*preheat over to 350
*cook, covered with reynolds wrap for 30 minutes
*uncover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

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Old 05-03-2016, 11:26 AM   #2
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Question

It sounds interesting but I am a bit confused by the directions...do you mean to mix all the ingredients together, e.g. the meat, sauce AND the ricotta cheese and parmesan? I ask because there is a layer of sauce below the shells. It would make more sense to have the shells filled with the ricotta, spinach and parmesan mix. Am I mistaken?


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Old 05-03-2016, 12:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creative View Post
It sounds interesting but I am a bit confused by the directions...do you mean to mix all the ingredients together, e.g. the meat, sauce AND the ricotta cheese and parmesan? I ask because there is a layer of sauce below the shells. It would make more sense to have the shells filled with the ricotta, spinach and parmesan mix. Am I mistaken?
The common practice is to mix all the ingredients together. But I would partially sauté the ground round (hamburger) and allow to cool before mixing in with the other ingredients. Also allow the cooked shells to cool. They are less likely to tear when filling. I have made this dish hundreds of times in the past 50+ years of cooking for a family. I do add finely diced onions to the meat when sautéing.

I have friends that will spend one day making the sauce. The second day putting the shells and sauce together. And others like myself will use a quality jar of pasta sauce. You can cook the shells on the first day. Rinse under cold water, coat with a light application of olive oil. Refrigerate for the next day if you are making your own sauce. If you choose to use jarred sauce, buy a very large jar. You will need a lot for the pan, and then some when serving it.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:12 PM   #4
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We always make a bunch of shells, cook some, and freeze the rest in a single layer on a sheet pan, then bag them up to take out as needed for the future. Makes for a quick delish meal if you have sauce already made up and frozen/canned or buy it.

I really love shells, either plain cheese or with spinach but I just don't like ground meat in them. Same thing for manicotti. But I do like meat raviolis. I know I'm weird.

And no creative, NCS didn't mean for you to mix the sauce in with everything else. The sauce goes a bit in the bottom (to prevent pasta shell sticking) and on top. A lot of American preps also add cheese on top, either more mozzarella and/or parm but you don't want to do that until you take the foil off to prevent the cheese sticking to the foil and also so that it won't burn.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
We always make a bunch of shells, cook some, and freeze the rest in a single layer on a sheet pan, then bag them up to take out as needed for the future. Makes for a quick delish meal if you have sauce already made up and frozen/canned or buy it.

I really love shells, either plain cheese or with spinach but I just don't like ground meat in them. Same thing for manicotti. But I do like meat raviolis. I know I'm weird.

And no creative, NCS didn't mean for you to mix the sauce in with everything else. The sauce goes a bit in the bottom (to prevent pasta shell sticking) and on top. A lot of American preps also add cheese on top, either more mozzarella and/or parm but you don't want to do that until you take the foil off to prevent the cheese sticking to the foil and also so that it won't burn.
I feel the same about the ground meat in these dishes. Just spinach and cheese for me with a little fresh grated nutmeg, as the meat flavor and texture ruins the dish for me. I use cottage cheese (hate ricotta), parm and mozzarella mixed with an egg along with spinach .
That's coming from someone who wants meat in nearly everything.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:01 PM   #6
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I put the meat in the pasta sauce (I've used my lasagna sauce for this) and mix the cheeses, eggs and spinach, plus parsley and a pinch of cinnamon, for the filling. As medtran said, put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish, place the stuffed shells on it, then top with the rest of the sauce. We like to top that with shredded mozzarella.

I'm going to have to make this soon. I found a container of lasagna sauce from last winter in the freezer yesterday
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:04 PM   #7
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Welcome to DC, Ncs83, and thank you for sharing your recipe.

Another fan of stuffed shells here, I love them. I need to make up another batch. Like medtran, I make up a lot and portion them out to freeze - just the stuffed shells - the sauce and extra cheese is separate until baking. They freeze really well. I make them almost exactly like Ncs's recipe above, except I use fully cooked sweet Italian sausage instead of ground beef, mixed with the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, and eggs. I like to pulse the crumbled cooked sausage in the blender a couple of times to make a finer grind, mix the other ingredients, then stuff them.

Shredded mozzarella and more parm gets added the last few minutes of baking. I also like to add some chopped parsley when I take them out of the oven for a little color. I didn't have any when I took this pic so I used chives.
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:37 PM   #8
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My contribution.
I also like a meat sauce when I am not making a meatless holiday meal.

No meat or spinach in the filling below. Just lots of cheese in and on top. BUT I will be adding spinach next time.

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Old 05-03-2016, 10:52 PM   #9
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In spite of making stuffed shells, lasagna, manicotti and other dishes requiring ricotta cheese, I simply do not like ricotta cheese. So I would make the normal amount to feed a family of six and use up any leftover pasta heated in the sauce for myself.
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Old 05-04-2016, 02:16 AM   #10
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Addie, I guess you ignore my posts but in case you're tempted, I don't like Riccota either. Blended cottage cheese, or unblended for that matter, works well as a good substitute for Riccota.
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Stuffed Shells My favorite part of Christmas Dinner! Ingredients: 2lbs ground round spaghetti sauce 3 1lb boxes Jumbo Shells (you will probably only need 2, buy extra one just incase) 4 boxes frozen spinach 30oz container ricotta cheese 1 cup grated parmesan cheese 2 eggs 2 disposable lasagna pans Directions: *microwave spinach as directed *squeez spinach dry *brown meat *mix all ingredients in large bowl *fill pot up with water *add 1 tbsp oil to boiling water so shells don't stick together *cook shells as directed for baking use *fill shells with mixture *line bottom of pan with sauce *add layer of stuffed shells to pan (don't overlap them) *line top of stuffed shells with sauce *preheat over to 350 *cook, covered with reynolds wrap for 30 minutes *uncover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. 3 stars 1 reviews
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