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Simple Saturday Supper | Valentine Italian Cheese Cups with Red Sauce

Posted Feb 20 2009 7:22pm

Every Saturday is Simple Supper Day. Each Saturday you’ll find a recipe that I’ve created or adapted for a fast, easy, and delicious meal. Be healthy and enjoy cooking again.

dsc_3599 Today’s supper is Valentine Italian Cheese Cups with Red Sauce.

One of my family’s favorite meals is Stuffed Shells. Since I’ve been working to reduce white flour in my diet, I wondered how stuffed shells would taste without the pasta. While rummaging in the cabinet for my muffin pan, a momentary flash of creativity led me to the silicone heart shaped muffin cups in the panty. Perfect for a special Valentine’s Day meal. While not my regular type of simple supper simple because of the cooking time, it is easy to put together and freezes well - making two batches doesn’t take much more work and the second one can be used for a simple supper later on.

Valentine Italian Cheese Cups with Red Sauce

1 egg

1 15 oz container ricotta cheese

1 8 oz package shredded mozzarella

½ cup shredded parmesan

¼ cup grated parmesan

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Salt and Pepper

Spaghetti Sauce (homemade or favorite jar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the egg and cheeses in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the spinach, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. dsc_3483

Spray the muffin pans with oil or use foil liners. Spoon cheese mixture into muffin cups and bake approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Remove the baked cheese from the muffin cups and serve with hot spaghetti sauce and a salad or steamed broccoli for an easy, elegant meal. This recipe filled a dozen regular size heart-shaped muffin cups and serves 4-6 (2-3 pieces per serving). Frozen spinach can be used, but fresh is really easier to work with - you just have to chop up the leaves to make one cup. If using frozen, you need to thaw it, then squeeze out the moisture or it will give you soggy cheese cups. The recipe also works without the spinach.

Cooks Notes:

This recipe is good with just about any spaghetti sauce. I like meat sauce and usually make a large batch of sauce that I use for several freezer meals.

If you prefer pasta, cook large pasta shells al-dente and use a spoon to fill them with the cheese mixture. Spread a layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a casserole and place the stuffed shells in the pan. Top with more spaghetti sauce, cover the casserole and bake. Stuffed shells can be frozen like this before cooking and go straight from freezer to oven - just increase the cooking time to about 1-1/2 hours.

Tags: cooking, creativity, food, simple supper

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