As I go into 2014 with a new appreciation for healthier foods, I cannot say that I don’t enjoy cheating every now and then. And if I’m going to cheat with anything, it’s going to be one of two things – pasta or cheeseburgers. These two things are my pitfalls, my favorite things to eat anytime and anywhere. This particular pasta recipe is one of my favorites because of all the delicious cheese stuffed into each little shell. It’s also one of my favorites because it’s so incredibly easy to make. Seriously, it only takes me about 20 minutes and baking only takes 30, so you get a beautiful and delicious pasta dish without all the stress and hard work. It takes 3 kinds of cheese – ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan (or sometimes I use the parmesan – romano mixture) – pasta sauce (I usually make my own from scratch), and a box of pasta shells (or you can use the tubes, I just find the shells easier to stuff). Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my own stuffed shells to show you,  but I found this picture on Wikipedia, and it looks exactly the same LOL.

300px-Chicken-spinach-stuffed-shells-23

So here’s what you need:

8 oz grated mozzarella cheese

About 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese

About 2 cups of ricotta cheese

1 egg

Parsley flakes

Pasta shells (cooked to al dente and cooled)

For the sauce:

2 small cans of tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

A dash of Tabasco sauce

A splash of Worcestershire sauce

About 1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper

(or other seasonings as you desire)

Ok so this recipes has alot of “About this much” measurements. I only put these because I never actually measure anything when I make this. It’s more about textures and tastes. So mix all the cheeses together until you get a good lumpy cheese mixture. Add the egg and sprinkle in some parsley flakes to give it a little color. Once the egg is well mixed in, stuff the cooled shells with the cheese mixture. Sometimes I stuff more, sometimes I stuff less just depending on my mood – go crazy! For the sauce, mix all ingredients together, plus one tomato sauce can full of water. Stir together and let simmer while you make the cheese mixture and stuff the shells. Once finished, layer the bottom of a 11″x9″ pan (or similar casserole dish) with the sauce. Lay stuffed shells on top of sauce layer, once the pan is filled, pour remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes. I like to serve this with a green vegetable, either green beans (will be posting a super tasty basalmic green been recipe soon) or try some brocollini! Whatever you pair your pasta with, this dish is sure to fill and impress, and even better yet is I haven’t met one person who didn’t love it. So even though I know I’m cheating by stuffing myself with all this cheese, I feel like once in a while is a good way to keep yourself on track. You have to treat yourself once in a while to make it all worth it. Just make sure to stay focused and serve a big heaping of vegetables with your cheat meals! Haha. Thanks for reading!

Happy Cooking!!

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