This was one of my favourite things my mom made for dinner growing up. It had all the components of lasagna, but I could pick and choose whether I wanted more cheese or more meat that night. Super simple to make and easy to freeze for a quick dinner option on another night.
I do both cheese/spinach and beef shells in this recipe. You can substitute to make Vegan or Vegetarian meals.
1 box jumbo shells 1lb ground beef or turkey 1 package of baby spinach (I used a 142G pack) 1 454G container of Cottage Cheese 1 egg 1/2C grated parmesan cheese 1 small onion, diced 1 red pepper diced 1 tbsp olive oil 1 can pasta sauce Salt, Pepper and Diced Garlic to taste Grated mozzarella to top
Start by boiling water to cook the shells. In one frying pan add the ground meat, diced onion, diced pepper, diced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until meat is fully cooked, with no pink left. In another frying pan, sautee the spinach, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. While the two pans are cooking, in a bowl combine the cottage cheese, parmesan, egg and pepper to taste. Once the spinach is cooked, add to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to fill shells. In the meantime, open the can of pasta sauce and pour a bit into a long, low casserole dish. Pour just enough in to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover the bottom by taking the dish and tilting it around to spread the sauce evenly.
Once the pan with the meat is fully cooked, add pasta sauce to it. Enough to cover the meat and vegetables, but keep some aside to finish the shells. Once covered, remove from the stove and get ready to stuff the shells. Once the shells are cooked al dente, soft, but still firm pour the shells into a strainer, then rinse in cold water. Preheat the oven to 400F. Gently taking the shells one at a time, using a spoon, fill the shells with the meat or cheese mixture. I tend to do half meat, half cheese. If you have any meat filling left over, you can freeze to add to spaghetti sauce later. Once filled, lay the shells in the dish side by side until the pan is filled. Take the remaining pasta sauce and spread in a line over the tops of the shells. To finish them off, take your grated mozzarella and sprinkle over all the shells to cover. These are fantastic to make a big batch of, some for dinner and some for the freezer for a future meal. Seal tightly and freeze for up to 6 months in a deep freeze.
Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400F for 30 minutes until the sides are bubbling and the cheese is melted. You can remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy!