Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Meat and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Ever since our early dating years, this recipe has long since been a favorite of my husband's.  In fact, it was what I had fixed for dinner that Valentine's evening, oh so long ago, when he popped the question of marriage.  Since then, it's always been a special recipe to pull out occasionally when I want to shower my family with a little extra food love.  This is the recipe I alluded to when I wrote the Stuffed Spinach Rolls recipe.

This recipe makes 2 baking dishes full.  I freeze one, or give one away, and bake the other for dinner.  Add in a side of Garlic Toast and you're eatin' GOOD!

You'll need:

1 box of large shells
2 pound of ground meat - turkey, beef, chicken, Italian sausage, etc.
1 pound container of ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
2 jars of spaghetti sauce
1 pound of shredded mozzarella

First of all, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the shells according to package directions.

While that's going, brown the meat of your choice, and drain fat.

Chop onion and add to the meat. Cook til translucent.  Pour in 2 jars of spaghetti sauce.  You can use any you like.  I prefer our homemade sauce, but any you like is fine!

In bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, about a 1/4 cup of parm cheese, garlic powder, about a 1/4 tsp of basil and oregano, and about a 1/2 cup of mozzerella.  Mix up well.

In a baking dish, add just enough sauce to cover the bottom.

Spoon a tablespoon of cheese mixture into each shell, followed by a spoonful of meat sauce.

I use a slotted spoon so that there is less sauce and more meat to spoon into the shell.

Set into the pan with open side up.  Squeeze as many as you can into your pan.

Cover with meat sauce.

Top with shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until cheese to brown and bubbly to your liking.


Homemade Garlic Toast

This was actually my husband's idea.  I resisted for the longest time thinking there was no way I could make it as tasty as the store bought stuff.  Turns out I was wrong!  This is WAY cheaper too!

You'll need:

2 loaves of french bread.  I picked them up from Walmart on their day old section for 39 cents a piece.  You can get plain, garlic and herb, or other flavors.

3 sticks of REAL butter

2 teaspoons of garlic powder (click link for how to make homemade garlic powder)

 In a bowl, slightly warm the butter til it's soft, but not fully melted.  I put mine in a stainless steel bowl and floated it in a sink of hot water until it was just right.  Add in the garlic, (you can use more or less if you prefer) mix it up good.

Slice up the bread.

I used a pastry brush to add a thick glob of garlic butter to each slice.

Place on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer for about an hour.

Then place in a bag or container to store until use.

To bake, warm at 400 for 10-15 minutes depending your personal preference.  I like mine soft and warm.  Some prefer it crusty.  Bake to what you like.  :)  Enjoy!