Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stuffed Shells

Why must the universe give me a totally open week and then make the next week a complete mess? But hey, all that matters is that I survived it. It doesn't help that I kept putting off my homework for grad class until the week it was due but I think I did alright. I'm actually doing a lot better in the class than I thought I would. It's been three years since I've been in school so I was worried about how I would do academically. Of course, my professor hasn't given us actual grades yet but he has given me positive feedback so one can only assume.

The graduate program I'm in is geared toward adults who are already working so they made the courses mostly online. The good thing about this class I'm taking now is that we get to meet with the professor face-to-face. It's only twice out of the whole semester, but the one time we met, we discussed about a lot of interesting policies (the class is called "Public Policy and Community Relations in Education") and I learned a lot from him. It's only six people in the class too so it makes for good discussions. It made me miss being in college and learning new things.

Still, I'm actually glad it's only twice a semester because between getting home from work and driving to class, I'm pretty pressed for time. Granted, the drive is only five minutes but I don't like walking in feeling rushed so I like to give myself some time to settle down once I arrive. Despite trying to get ready pretty quickly, I manage to eat something very nice for dinner thanks to some planning ahead and my freezer.

Stuffed Shells

I've made stuffed shells before with just ricotta and spinach but man, does the sausage one-up it. I love sweet Italian sausage and lots of cheese so this is a great recipe. I really should keep this stocked in my freezer all the time because when nothing else looks good, this will always appeal to my stomach. This recipe makes a lot and can definitely feed a family with leftovers. Serve with a salad or a light soup for a balanced meal!

Stuffed Shells
From Scrumptious and Sumptuous 

1 lb jumbo shells
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan

For the filling
1 lb sausage [I used sweet Italian sausage]
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 to 2 eggs (depending on how dry the ricotta is)1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 1/2 tbsp fresh dried basil
1 1/2 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Marinara sauce (use your favorite - I used Classico's Spicy Pepper)

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking it into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients for the filling. Add cooked sausage; mix well.

To cook the pasta shells: in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil, then add 1 1/2 tbsp salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Drain.

Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. To stuff the shells, I put the filling inside a ziploc bag, closed it, cut off a piece of the bottom corner, and piped the filling into the shells. So much easier than trying to spoon it in! Place stuffed shells, open side face up, into the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan, cover with foil, and bake at 375F for 30 minutes, removing foil during last 10 minutes of cooking. When done, let cool and serve!

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