So my big surprise dinner?
STUFFED SHELLS! Four cheese stuffed shells at that, at let me tell you, not to toot my own horn or anything….but they are REALLY good! 🙂 I was thinking back and realized that I hadn’t yet made my stuffed shells in the year I’ve been blogging, which is weird because its always Ryan’s dinner request and I’ve made this recipe tons of times! Its actually pretty easy to throw together, can feed a crowd (or a really hungry boyfriend!) and freezes beautifully. I use all low fat cheeses and that lightens the load of this dish a lot. So, without further ado, here’s my yummy recipe!
Four Cheese Stuffed Shells
15 oz part skim ricotta
1 cup italian blend cheeses (the kind that comes in a bag)
3/4 cup parmesan
about 12 oz cottage cheese (I just buy the lb container and then eyeball it!)
1 lb jumbo shell pasta
2 1 lb jars of tomato sauce (or homemade)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
10 oz frozen spinach, defrosted and water pressed out
1 tsp sea salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb ground meat or chicken sausage, cut into chunks (optional but Ryan always asks for this!)
1. Boil the pasta in salted water. Drain and lay out shells on a wax paper lined kitchen counter. Let cool and make the filling.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, italian cheese blend, parmesan, salt, pepper and spinach. Mix well.
3. Spoon about tbsp of cheese into each shell and lay each seam side up into a greased casserole dish. Pour sauce over the shells and sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese. ***If adding meat, I usually combine it in the sauce before pouring over the shells***
4. Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
*Serves about 10, split into two casserole dishes
Tonight to appease Ryan’s carnivore ways and to play with a new meat I don’t have much experience with, I used 1/2 lb of ground buffalo! Bison is very very lean and high in protein…and Greenwise had a sale! 😉 I browned the meat with a splash of canola oil in my cast iron and then combined it with the sauce before pouring over the shells.
I made Ryan “garlic toast” by smearing smart balance on a slice of my potato/rosemary/roasted garlic bread and then broiling it in the oven for a few minutes. I had a big bite!
This afternoon we were busy baking MORE cookies for my brother’s project. Its real fun when your oven is broken and you have to run sheet tray after sheet tray of cookies over to the neighbor’s house……….
Here are some ugly/broken ones my mom and I may have nibbled on…hehehe 😉
In other news, I finally bought a new bible today. I had been reading from the Teen Study Bible (NIV) for the past 10 years and decided it was far time to upgrade since CLEARLY (sadly), I am no longer a teen anymore. Sniff sniff. So, I made the plunge and bought the Life Application Study Bible in the New Living Translation. I feel so grown up now! As I was going through my old bible and pulling out little notes and prayers I had written over the years that I wanted to save, I came across this note that I had written as a prayer back in October of 2004 when I was only 19 years old. It reads:
“Father God, please help me with my daily struggle against food. It is so hard for me to just let go and know you are God. Deliver me from my struggles and instead fill me up with your love. I want so badly to be satisfied with myself and not feel the way I do. Lord, grant me strength.” 10/12/04
Underneath my prayer I had copied down a verse that I actually picked THIS MONTH for my LPM Scripture Memory Verse team! “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:18
Ladies, I never have had an eating disorder. But I feel that I can relate to so many of you when you tell me about your struggle with appearance. Thinking back, when I was 19, I was feeling very insecure about myself! I had gained about 10-15 pounds my first year of college and was surrounded daily by gorgeous toothpick sized girls in my sorority. In my mind, I just didn’t measure up. How wrong I was and how RIGHT God has been to re-direct my negative thinking path into something positive and beautiful. I no longer have feelings of insecurity (although I’d be lying if I say I LOVE LOVE LOVE to go bikini shopping!!! haha!) and have come to feel at peace with my body and myself.
I just wanted to share! =)
Tomorrow is YOGA with my mommy at 9 at our studio (yay!!) followed by my first Beth Moore Esther bible study at Sarah’s house. Tomorrow also is apparently going to be the coldest day of the year (??!!) and I am MORE than happy to spend the 3 am hour cuddled in my bed rather than climbing the five flights of outdoor stairs at Greenwise!
See you tomorrow!