Since Judah was born (now a month ago) it has been hard to get to the grocery store regularly, or to even find time to plan our meals. For the first 2 1/2 weeks we were overjoyed with dinner supplied to us every night from friends at church, but now it’s back to reality. Often times, I’m finding myself shocked that it’s already time for dinner and scrambling to whip up something quick before the little guy wakes up for his next feeding.
Last night was one of those nights. Typically, the dishes concocted from these recent last minute “throw-downs” end up more on the mediocre side, leaving us discontented. However, last night was an upturn from this rut and I was able to find items in my pantry that actually created this delicious meal! Ben loved it and I immediately wrote down what I used so I could share the recipe with you, my deserving readers.
Using only 4 ingredients, this recipe is quick to put together for a weeknight dish, yet impressive enough to serve to guests. It’s also nice to be able to buy the pasta and canned tomatoes ahead of time and store them in your pantry so they are there for a last minute meal. You can add to the basic ingredients below, but you’ll find the recipe as it stands is surprisingly flavorful! I did add a few basil leaves and two cloves of garlic, but only because I didn’t have two cans of the Italian style stewed tomatoes. Instead, I compromised with one can and three small fresh tomatoes that I diced. Therefore, I needed to add the seasonings to the fresh tomatoes. The recipe below reflects how I will make this dish in the future (and how I would have made it last night if I had both cans of stewed tomatoes). I would consider using all fresh tomatoes and my own blend of seasonings, but why create more work? Plus, the less work I have to put into cooking dinner right now, the more time I get to spend on my other love, baby Judah. And, how else would I be able to find a moment to keep washing all those baby bottles?
Italian Stuffed Shells
12 oz jumbo pasta shells
1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage, or 5 sausage links (casings removed)
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes, Italian recipe
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan.
Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or until tender, but not fully cooked). Drain.
Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet until cooked through. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Evenly spread about 1 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan. Individually fill the pasta shells with the meat sauce and place in the pan open side up. It is possible you may not use all of the shells. Pour any leftover sauce on top of shells. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 25-30 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.