Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

This recipe is embarrassingly easy, but yummy. And yes, for those interested, can be gluten free. My kids and husband love it, it is a yummy way to get them to eat spinach,  and it freezes well. So, what’s not to like ? 🙂  it does make a LOT of food, almost two full 9×13 pans.  you could definitely half the recipe.  and, if you don’t like spinach, just leave it out.

Ingredients:
1 12oz Box Jumbo Shells (I used Ronzoni)*
1 24oz Container 2% Small Curd Cottage Cheese or Ricotta Cheese, whichever you prefer. i use cottage.
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 10oz box frozen spinach, thawed and drained really well

2 lbs of lean ground beef, browned and rinsed of fat.
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
a few dashes of hot sauce (optional but we like a little kick at our house)
1  1/2 jars of good quality spaghetti sauce or about 6 cups if  make your own.  here is a GREAT recipe if you wanna make it (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/marinara-sauce-recipe2/index.html)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

*IF you are making this GLUTEN FREE, Use an 8 oz box of Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice Grand Shells. I order mine off Amazon but your grocery or nutrition store may carry them. Because this box is smaller than the one used in the regular recipe, you will need to decrease your ingredients slightly:  8 oz of cottage or ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 5 oz of spinach, 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper, dash or two of hot sauce, 4  cups of marinara sauce, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your shells according to the package directions, careful not to overcook. Mushy pasta is bad. Drain. Pat shells dry. This will keep your dish from getting watery.

Meanwhile, brown your meat in a skillet and then rinse and drain it.

In a bowl combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, drained spinach (be sure to really squeeze your spinach so that it is not full of water), cooked ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce.

In 2 9×13 baking dishes (if doing gluten free you will only need one pan), spread about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce over bottom. Fill each shell with cheese/spinach mixture and set them into the baking dish on top of the sauce. 

Pour remaining sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.
Bake at 375 for 30-35 min until heated though and cheese is slightly browning.
Serve with a fresh salad and some crusty garlic bread. If i have leftover sauce, I usually warm it and serve it for people to spoon over their shells if desired.

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3 responses to “Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

  1. just made this recipe! Loved it! I made my own sauce and used marscapone and ricotta cheeses and I used fresh spinach cause I already had some in the fridge. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. mmmm. marscapone sounds good. great idea. i will try that next time. glad it turned out well for you!

  3. I made this for some friends who had just had a baby. I did not have any gluten free shells so I could not make any for us. OUr friends loved the recipe. Cannot wait to make it GF.

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