Tonight’s dinner was made last night, which made it perfect for a night that we were getting home late. It was also perfect seeing as though Ross has been working on building a fence in our yard all week, so I was able to get all of the other stuff done without feeling too overwhelmed and having to cook, too (ok, well, I still felt overwhelmed all night, but I shouldn’t have!).
Last night, I boiled a box of jumbo shells. While they were boiling, I sauteed a clove of garlic and about 1/2 onion, diced, in some olive oil. I added a pound of ground beef and let it brown until cooked through. I then drained the meat and set it aside.
Meanwhile, I mixed together a medium sized container of cottage cheese and about 1/2 cup of sour cream. I’ve used cottage cheese before in baked ziti, but never in stuffed shells. The cottage cheese/sour cream combo was very tasty. And I HATE cottage cheese. Anything with the name curds in it just should not be edible to me. But I actually really like it baked in Italian meals instead of ricotta. Adding the sour cream to it made it a little thicker, a little creamier and just a tad richer, while still tasting a little lighter. Along with the cottage cheese and sour cream I added 1 egg and about a teaspoon of dried basil and a teaspoon of oregano as well as some salt and pepper. I mixed in a cup of mozzarella cheese and a little Parmesan. The meat mixture was added to the cheese mixture and all was stirred well.
I coated the bottom of a 9×13 dish with sauce, stuffed each shell with the cheese mixture and set them down, seam side up, in the pan. I poured the remainder of the jar of sauce over the shells, sprinkled another cup of mozzarella on top and sprinkled with Parm, salt and pepper. Last night I just covered it and put it in the fridge. Tonight when I got home, all I had to do was preheat the oven to 350, uncover it and bake it for about 35-40 minutes (probably only 30 or so if you weren’t just taking it out of the fridge).
We both loved it made this way! I think this will be my new standard for stuffed shells. Although, I realized as I was eating them that I forgot to add a dash of nutmeg to the cheese mixture, which my aunt always did and I love that. I will be sure not to forget it next time, it definitely adds a nice, subtle flavor. We had our shells with some garlic bread and green beans.