spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

Doesn’t everybody have a recipe like this?  I think a variation of this recipe has been handed down from generation to generation of cooks for decades.  But that doesn’t mean stuffed shells have worn out their welcome at our dinner table.  It means it’s one of those consistently good, go-to recipes everybody should have on hand in the event dinner inspiration is lacking.  I like this one because it reminds me of my mom, who taught me how to make it, and because it’s just a good, filling, comforting meal.  I use spinach, but chopped broccoli works well, too.  In fact, I think any green veggie, chopped or shredded, would work.

Also, since I’m a big advocate of cooking with your kids, this is an easy one for budding chefs to have lots of hands-on time.  I’m a bit nostalgic at the moment, having just lost my mom so recently, but putting this together for dinner last night with my 6 year old was a little bit of a walk down memory lane, too.  I have really fond memories of helping my mom in the kitchen – to the extent what I was doing was actually helpful – and that’s a huge part of what I love about cooking now.  So, letting Kat slosh marinara to her heart’s content is part of my joy of cooking.  I should probably add it to the instructions:  Give your kid a spoon and let ‘em have at it.  Enjoy!

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

  • 2 dozen jumbo shells, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 15 oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 8 oz package part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp parsley, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 3 c marinara sauce
Instructions:
.
Cook jumbo shells as directed.  Drain on paper towel.  Thaw spinach and drain well, squeezing out excess moisture by the handful.  Combine with cheese, beaten eggs, salt, parsley, oregano and pepper.
.
Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in 13 x 9 baking pan.  Fill shells with about 2 Tbsp of mixture.  Place filled shells (one deep) in dish and cover with remaining sauce.  Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.  Makes 6 – 8 servings of 3 – 4 shells.

Kitchen Notes:  This recipe freezes really well, too.  Thaw to room temp then bake as directed.

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