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Freezer Meal: Shells ‘n Cheese

Posted Aug 23 2011 8:09am

Originally I thought I’d stuff my freezer full of meals for when Baby D arrived, but I’m slowly starting to see that I might not have as many prepared as I originally thought. But between family, friends and sending Hubbs out to get food, I don’t think we’ll go hungry :)

However, I did have some time this weekend to prep another freezer meal…

Spinach ‘n Cheese Stuffed Shells

by Eating Well

spinach stuffed shells ingredients

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (Maybe I had big onions, but I only need a little over 1 onion)
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs (Mix it up and use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs for more flavor)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce

First up, cook your shells according the directions on the package.

boiling shells

Once they are cooked al dente, rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and set them aside.

rinsing shells

Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onions.

onions

While the onions cook, defrost and squeeze the frozen spinach.

defrosted and drained spinach

Then, add it to the onions and mix.

spinach and onions

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and 1/4 c parmesan.

ricotta mix ricotta mixture

Then toss in the onion and spinach, salt and egg white. Mix well.

stuffed shells mixture

Put a layer of marinara on the bottom of your dish, then start stuffing!

stuffing shells 2

stuffed shells

I filled up these two dishes and had a bit leftover, so I made 6 shells for us to bake and sample.  But first, top with marinara and the remaining parmesan cheese.

spinach stuffed shells ready for oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or, cover with plastic wrap and freeze!

This dish was easy to put together.  I loved the cheese and spinach, but I can think off a few alterations that could pump up the flavor:

  • adding a little garlic or spice would help give the dish a little kick
  • use a more flavorful marinara than just basic basil and tomato
  • add in spicy sausage (chicken, turkey or whatever you prefer)

Overall, I’m glad I have this dish in the freezer because it’s going to be great to dig into homemade comfort food when Baby D is in my arms :)

What do you prefer… stuffed shells or lasagna?

For some reason stuffed shells always sound more fun to me!

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