It may look unkempt and dishevelled (and boy howdy it is) but it’s also falls under my three favourite categories: simple, super fast and oh-so-tasty. I call it “lazy girl stuffed shells” because it takes all the work out of stuffing those little suckers and allows you to just chuck it all together in a casserole dish easy peasy.
I love anything that only takes one bowl to prepare and mix. This recipe is also great because it’s very interchangeable for veggie ingredients and that’s handy when your a busy mom or just didn’t have time to go to the store that day. You just use what you have on hand, pretty much anything goes and you’re still guaranteed a yum-in-the-tum meal. Some chopped veggies, ricotta cheese, cooked pasta, spices and your on your way. Sneak a few mouth-fulls before adding the egg just to hold yourself over.
My simple glass casserole dish is my bestest friend, it makes my life leaps and bounds easier. Left-overs can be covered up right in the dish and put in the fridge-no fumbling with annoying tupperware. And because it’s a glass dish, I can throw it right into the dishwasher for easy clean up when I’m done instead of pruning my fingers and breaking a sweat scrubbing over a hot and soapy water filled sink. I swear to you all, my loyal followers, there’s no better friend than the glass casserole dish.
This is what it looks like for me fresh out of the oven. I like my cheese semi-burnt so I broil it at the very end for a few minutes just to get that dark crispy look. The smell will fill your house with an intoxicating aroma that will attract everyone to the kitchen with the same general question, “When’s dinner ready?”
Served with a light salad or some garlic bread is the cherry on top. As much as I love cruising for recipes online, professional sites never really portray photos of “real home cooked meals.” They always look so perfect and Martha Stewart-esque and mine never end up looking like the pictures. This is what a real made-with-love meal looks like to me.
2 cups small shell pasta (I cheated and used rotini but shells are much more fun to use)
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 jar pasta sauce
1 onion diced
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 diced pepper (red is most typical but any will really work)
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp basil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook small shells in medium pot until just under cooked. Meanwhile in a medium bowl mix (well drained) spinach, onion, garlic, pepper, spices. When pasta is cooked add it to the bowl along with ricotta cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
In your beloved casserole dish spread half the jar of pasta sauce along the bottom of the dish. Evenly pile your pasta mixture on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the top of the pasta mix and spread evenly. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and cover with foil.
Bake for 55-60 minutes in oven. Remove foil and broil for 3-5 minutes if desired.
Let cool before serving. Finally, yell out, “Dinner time!” and duck and cover to avoid being trampled by the stampede of hungry loved ones.