We are several days into fall, the temperature is cooling off, the days are shorter, and I have comfort food on the brain. Transitioning from summer to fall, means fewer salads, and more hot and hearty meals. Not exactly sure why, but cold weather makes me want food that as my grandmother would say, "Sticks to your bones". What that has to do with temperature and seasons, I don't rightly know, but it just does.
There are probably a thousand different ways to make stuffed shells, but this basic recipe is the one I grew up eating, and the one that my family likes. Honestly, I'm guessing it was copied from a pasta box fifty years ago, or perhaps from a church cookbook. I can't really say, except for the fact that it's easy and good. When I'm in a hurry, instead of making my homemade meat sauce, I opt for the store-bought marinara. I fry up the ground beef with some onions and carrots, drain off the fat, and then add the marinara. No one in my house seems to taste the difference.
Jumbo Pasta Shells
10 oz. Pouch of Frozen Chopped Spinach
16 oz. Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1 Egg, Beaten
16 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Garlic Powder to Taste-2 teaspoons
Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
Salt to Taste
2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
Onions Chopped (optional)
Carrots Chopped (optional)
Store-Bought or Homemade Marinara Sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook shells until al dente.
Microwave spinach according to pkg. directions, and then squeeze out all moisture
In a mixing bowl, mix spinach, cottage cheese, egg, 3/4 of mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Fry hamburger meat with onions and carrots, drain fat, and add marinara sauce.
Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of a greased 13x9 baking dish.
Stuff each shell with approximately 2 Tbsp. of the spinach and cheese mixture.
Arrange shells with the opening of the shells facing up.
Cover the shells with the remaining meat sauce and top with remaining mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve with salad and french bread.
Serves 8 to 10 people.