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Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells is handy freezer meal to have at the ready. Cheesy and delicious and covered in sauce, this dish will make your busiest evenings a cinch.
As the Christmas trees and decorations start to go up and the sounds of the holiday season start to jingle all around us, a great epiphany strikes me.
It is all about to hit the fan.
It’s like this every year and every year I am woefully unprepared for the onslaught of Christmas. Long days at work are capped off with equally long nights wrapping gifts, making cookies, and hiding that ridiculous elf that seemed like a great idea several years ago. I find myself green with envy at the families who have somehow managed to find the time to fit in a trip to see Santa, craft a handmade Christmas ornament for each of their children’s teachers, and still come up with clever things for Candy Cane the Friendly Elf to get into every morning before the kids wake up. So far, the only thing I have accomplished is to stock the advent calendar with leftover birthday party favors and old Halloween candy. Go me!
I have managed to stock the fridge with a few simple, made-ahead meals for the coming crazy, hectic, completely stressful week. Without these meals, dinner would almost certainly come in through my car window (and go straight to my thighs). This meal of stuffed shells is probably the one I am most looking forward to. It’s a warm and comforting dish with just enough vegetables to make you feel better about yourself. And maybe, with all of that time I’ve saved the kids and I can make some cookies…and the stupid elf can watch.
- 20 Jumbo shells
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 4 oz. of cremini mushrooms finely diced
- 5 oz. half of a package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ t. thyme
- 1-15 oz. tub Ricotta cheese
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 2- 16 oz. jars of marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add in the jumbo shells. Cook until softened but not quite done all the way through, about 12 minutes. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool. Meanwhile in a medium sized skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute onion and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Stir in the spinach, garlic and thyme and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and into a large bowl. Add in the ricotta, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add in the egg. Spoon the cheese filling into a plastic zip-top bag and the cut out one bottom corner to make a piping bag. Pour one jar of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Pipe a couple of tablespoons of filling into each shell and then place them in the pan. Continue until they are all done. Pour the remaining jar of marinara over the shells and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover tightly with foil and bake until dish is bubbly and pasta is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve and enjoy!