Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pinterest Challenge Day 28: Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells (Freezer Meal)

I've wanted to get more vegetarian freezer meal ideas. With little ones, there are some good days when I'm able to do a lot of cooking. There are also some challenging days when I'm so worn out, the only thing I want to do is pop something into the oven and that's it.

I came across these stuffed shells and pinned them for later:

My friend recently had a baby, and I had plans to visit her today. I wanted to bring her some freezer meals, so I decided to make these last night. The recipe makes two 9x13 dishes, which I think serves six. I changed it to make four 8x8 dishes--two for me, and two for her. It worked well. Besides that, the only changes I made were to use basil instead of the other herbs because that's what I had on hand (and, hey, basil tastes great). Also, I used jarred sauce instead of making my own because it's easy, and I really like Ragu chunky sauces.

The recipe came together relatively easily. I made it after the kids went to bed, so it took me an hour of uninterrupted time. In my opinion, that's not bad to get four meals made in an hour!

After I mixed the cheeses with the basil and spinach, I stuffed the mixture into a plastic bag and was able to quickly pipe it all into the cooked shells. Here's what it looked like after that stage:

I topped each pan with approximately two cups of jarred sauce and a handful of shredded mozzarella:

I covered it in plastic wrap, foil, and then stuck the cooking instructions in there before topping it with the lid that the disposable pans came with:

This evening, I decided to cook one to be able to write a review with my Pinterest post. It was done in just shy of an hour. It made 10 shells, which fed me (3), Andrew (3), Oliver (2), and left two for lunch tomorrow.

The flavor wasn't outstanding, but it was good. I felt it was something I'd definitely eat again for the ease of it. Unfortunately, about half an hour after I finished my meal, I was doubled over in agony. It was my first time cooking with cottage cheese, and, apparently, I react to it like I do to sour cream. No bueno! I'm feeling a little better now but still am experiencing some slight cramps. Boo.

I still have one in the freezer, but I think there will be an evening that Andrew can bake it for Oliver and him if I want to duck out and get some quality "me" time.

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