Satisfying A Pasta Craving

Spinach Stuffed Shells

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-8

Is life every crazy at your house? Like the kind of crazy where it hits 5:30 and you have planned absolutely nothing for dinner? That was us last week for sure. Two out of three kids had testing last week, and that just had everyone off schedule. I feel like I stress the testing more than they do ( or at least I hope that is the case!). With everyone having a million things going on at the same time, I found myself standing in my kitchen at 5:30 one night, not having a single clue as to what I would feed everyone for dinner.

Side note: we live pretty far out from town, we do have two places that deliver pizza, a Subway, a Chinese restaurant, and a BBQ place, but I have really been trying to crack down on our eating out, especially if it’s just because we are busy. I would rather save those meals on somewhere I want to go, rather than just somewhere to satisfy the need.

So, with no dinner plans in sight, I pulled out a few things from my fridge/freezer and pantry and got to work on these stuff shells. Ingredients for a quick spaghetti type dish is something I almost always have on hand, so luckily these came together quickly and without a trip to IGA.

Give me all the CHEESE!

Spinach Stuffed Shells

  • 24 Jumbo Macaroni Shells
  • 1 (10 oz,) package frozen spinach, chopped and thawed
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Meaty Spaghetti Sauce, 2 cups
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil

Freezer Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

  • 5 cans ( 28 oz.) whole tomatoes
  • 2 lbs. onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons smoked Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 3 lbs. ground beef ( I use at least 90% lean) cooked and drained
  • 1 lbs button mushrooms, sliced

To Prepare Meaty Spaghetti Sauce:

Combine tomatoes and next 10 ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 8 hours. Blend with an immersion blender at about hour 7. While sauce is cooking, brown meat and mushrooms together over medium heat. I usually add a teaspoon or so of olive oil, just to give it a little extra fat to brown up nicely. Season meat as needed. Once sauce has cooked for 8 hours, adjust seasoning to your liking. Mix meat and sauce together and freeze in 4 cups increments in freezer safe storage containers.

To Prepare the Shells:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni shells according to package directions; drain well, and set aside. Combine spinach and next 9 ingredients in a large bowl, stir well.

Fill each shell with 1 /4 cup of the spinach mixture, and place in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish. Pour reheated sauce over shells; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with basil if desired and let stand 10 mins before serving.

I prayed Philippians 4:6-8 over my kiddos many times last week. In all honesty, I probably needed it as much as they did!

Until next time,

Fellowship Foodie

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