Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stuffed Shells

I was wanting something different for dinner last night and I'm trying really hard to limit our eating out.  But as usual I didn't take any meat out of the freezer.  I told myself to just figure it out and this is what I came up with.

I had made sliders on Sunday from a recipe on The Dutch Baker's Daughter blog.  They weren't bad but the meat was a little on the thick side.  It reminded me of meatloaf.  I'll try it again but next time will definitely be more careful about the amount.  Anyway, I slipped away there.  So, I had hamburger meat with onions and cheese.  I took a look in the pantry to see what was going on in there.  Beans, rice, potatoes, jarred pasta sauce, tuna, shells, lasagna noodles.  Wow, I have some choices now. Beans were out though because we have chili in the fridge from the weekend. Rice or potatoes, nah not feeling it.  So I went with the pasta.

My hands were yucky so I didn't get pictures of the steps to make it.  When I do things like this, I wash up and dive in.  Mixing ingredients like this are easier with your hands than with a spoon.  Ok, call the kitchen police but it's what I do!

And forgive the measurements, I mix until I get a good balance and texture.  Then I taste, season and I'm done.   And I literally just  cleaned out the fridge for this one.

Cooked hamburger patty, crumbled (with or without cheese)
Ricotta cheese (I used the entire pint)
Parmesan cheese (shredded, crumbled - use the kind in the green can if you must)
Cooked bacon, crumbled
garlic salt
red pepper flakes
onions, diced
Pasta Sauce - any flavor
Pasta Shells
fried onions - the packaged kind (you can eat these like chips! Yummy)

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray

Put meat, bacon, onions, cheeses, and spices into a bowl.  Start with a small amount and add as you mix to get the textures correct.  You want more cheese than meat and you want it to hold together in a bowl.  Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

When pasta is ready, rinse and fill with stuffing.  Don't overfill, you still want them to have a shape.  Put one layer in the casserole dish.  Top with pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese and fried onions.

Put in oven to warm through.  I went with a 300 degree oven for about 25 minutes.


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