Stuffed Shells

The first hint that I had that our apartment was not as nice as it looked was the sound of wind whistling through the holes of the plugs in our external walls.  I didn’t totally realize it at first, but that was one of many signs that are pointing to the fact that there is very little insulation in our apartment.  During the winter months I piled on the layers and blankets and spent time cooking really hot meals and drinking a lot of tea.stuffed shells5

 

I was hoping that the summer would be fine, we would set the thermostat to the temp we want (73 degrees) and deal with the big heating bill.  This works on most days, but alas, it fails on those really hot ones (of which there will be many many more I am sure).  We watch the thermostat go tick up as the afternoon goes on (blasted West facing apartment) and by the time dinner rolls around I have no interest in standing over a hot stove, or even turning it on.  stuffed shells4

 

Since the mornings are still enjoyable I am trying to do all of the cooking that I can then and just heat up dinner during peak heat hours.  I tried a few different frozen Trader Joe’s options that didn’t live up to my expectations. I am now directing my attention to finding the best make ahead and freezer meals. It was on this search that I stumbled across stuffed shells.  I won’t lie, I do not remember the last time I’ve had stuffed shells.  Maybe never?  But we’ll definitely have them again, I saw a variation with garlic scapes in them. 

 

What is your go to freezer meal?  Share the link in the comments!

stuffed shells2

Not the prettiest of finished products, but still super tasty

Stuffed Shells

adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

Since I had an a lot of Kale I decided to sub it in for the spinach and I really enjoyed the flavor it added to the meal.  The original recipe recommends using a pastry bag, but since I am without one I tried filling the shells with a spoon. That turned into both a pain and a mess.  The overflow wasn’t a big deal and just got mixed in with the tomato sauce and added more flavor to the dish.

12 ounces Jumbo Shells

Large Bunch Kale

2 eggs

  • 32 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Easy Tomato Sauce 
    • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

 

Directions

1.  Cook the shells according to the package directions.  Drain and Rinse and spread the shells out in baking dishes open side up. (I separated them into two dishes, one for dinner and one for the freezer).

 

2.  Preheat the oven to 375.

 

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the 32 oz ricotta cheese and 2 eggs.

 

4.  Transfer half of the mixture and half of the kale to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the mixture until it is combined but not completely pureed.  Transfer it to an empty bowl and repeat with the other half.

 

5.  When the kale and ricotta mixture is done, stir in the 1/2 t dried thyme, 1/2 t dried basil, salt and pepper.

 

6. Either transfer the filling to a pastry bag or start scooping the filling into shells.

 

7.  Take the freezer portion and stick into the freezer in the baking dish.  Once it is frozen you can transfer the shells into a plastic bag.

 

8.  Take the dinner portion and cover it with some tomato sauce and top with the grated parmesan cheese and mozzarella.

 

9.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes until bubbly.  Top with some freshly chopped basil before serving.

 

Nutritionals (Serves 8-doesn’t include tomato sauce): Cal: 461, Fat: 22, Carb: 39, Fiber: 3, Protein: 38