I’ve been instructed to “blog fast,” however, I’m bursting!
Not only is today Valentine’s Day, but I had a super productive day at work, squeezed in a quick-yet-tough workout this afternoon and, to top it all off, it was over 40 degrees today AND we’re supposed to be in the 60s later this week – wheee!!
Southerners and West Coasters – get ready to giggle – but I put the sun roof down on my car to let the 41 degree breeze in while driving home… Us Midwesterners know that anything over 25 degrees in the dead of winter is reason to celebrate, and celebrate I did.
My other reason to celebrate? Valentine’s Day dinner was practically DONE by the time I got home, since Ben and I pre-made it yesterday afternoon – Stuffed Shells!
Makes 24-25 stuffed shells
1 box jumbo shells (you’ll need about 25 shells)
1 lb lean ground beef
garlic salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning to taste
1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
16 oz marinara sauce
1. Cook shells according to package direction. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water, drain the rest and set aside.
2. Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain and return to the pot. Stir in seasonings, reserved pasta cooking water, parmesan cheese, egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
3. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. Spoon the beef mixture into the cooked shells until full, then lay into the dish. (If you are making ahead of time, cover the dish with foil at this point and refrigerate.) Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake, loosely covered with foil, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove foil and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
Stuffed shells y’all!!! I know Ben and I did our special Valentine’s Day dinner last night, but Ben luuuuuuurves stuffed shells/lasagna, so I thought it’d be super special to make these tonight.
I always shy away from making stuffed shells because I think they’ll be too time-consuming and messy – but honestly these were a cinch to make!
The beef mixture comes together really well because of the egg and all. that. cheese. so it spoons in and sticks to the shells easily. Love that!!
On the side, Ben requested steamed Brussels Sprouts. RIGHT?! Who requests steamed brussels sprouts?! Blech!
He claims he’s been over-served roasted Brussels Sprouts. I’m sure I have no idea what he’s talking about…
In the interest of saving time – I sautéed my portion. Sorry, no love for the steamed BS!
I seasoned my halves with olive oil, garlic salt & pepper, crisped them up on one side in a hot skillet, flipped and let them brown up on the other side with the lid on so they could soften a bit. NOT STEAM – just, you know, soften…
They were sensational! Definitely remembering this the next time I don’t have time to roast them. This took less than 10 minutes total to cook!
As a luxurious side, I warmed a crusty baguette in the oven with the shells, sliced it up and served with some dipping oil and freshly cracked black pepper.
I used the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil my friends brought Ben and me a couple weeks ago from Chicago!
SO flavorful – like a flavor punch, actually.
I love bread. ‘Nuff said.
WE ARE STUFFED! PUN INTENDED!!!!!!
I foresee a cupcake in my future. And some time spent with this fella.
Off to trade gifts – I can’t wait to show you the card I got him – it’s hysterical!!!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
How are you spending Valentine’s Day? With your sweetie, girl friends, boy friends, family? Dinner in or out? Dessert or no dessert? (Although I suspect I know the answer to that one already…)