Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells
I’ve started meal planning. I wanted to find a better way to find new meals for my family. I also wanted to take control of our grocery spending budget. I figured by planning meals ahead of time I could find the best prices by comparing several supermarkets in our area. Unexpected snow this weekend spoiled my plans to get started this week. I did however try one of the dishes on my list for the week. It was a huge hit, especially with my husband and my nephew.
These Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells were so easy to make. It is a bit time consuming putting it all together, but so worth it in the end. It’s a great meal choice for a make ahead dish, and the leftovers and just as good the next day. Get adventurous when making this dish. You don’t have to stick to the recipe I share but use it as a base. If you don’t eat pork, try it with ground turkey or ground beef. You can even make these with seafood (I’m making that next week so be sure to come back for that recipe).
There are a few steps to this recipe you can do at the same time. While browning the ground sausage, put the jumbo pasta shells to boil. You want to get them cooked as soon as possible because they are easier to handle when cool. I also used frozen spinach, if you do as well I recommend sautéing them while browning the sausage. I choose the sweet Italian sausage but hot ones work just as great, especially if you like the taste.
Mix the cheeses and your spinach together once it’s cooled down. You can also opt for fresh spinach leaves instead of frozen. Just do a rough chop on them if you use them raw. Or a quick sauté in the pan so they are more manageable in the cheese mix.
Don’t over cook your shells. Follow the directions on the box for cooking. Make sure they are soft but still firm so you can easily handle them while filling.
These is no right or wrong way to fill your shells. I tried several different options before settling on adding a spoonful of sausage followed by the cheese and spinach mix. I also tried with the sausage on top and with it in the middle. All three ways worked out for me.
If you’re spinach and cheese mixture is going on top be sure to not over stuff the shell with sausage. You want to have a good mix of both, so you get to taste them both with each bite.
Line your stuffed shells on top of the sauce in your baking dish. Don’t be afraid to get them in there snug. My baking dish was able to hold about 2/3 of the box of stuffed shells.
Cover your shells with additional sauce followed by cheese. I liked using a chunky cause on top of the shells because you get some bites of crushed tomato on top.
This dish is best when served warm. You can serve along with a salad and garlic bread. Store any left overs in an air tight container and enjoy the next day. Check out the recipe below for the steps to make this delicious meal for your family.