Monday, August 27, 2012

At Home: Stuffed Shells

I am an only child and a true "Daddy's girl".  Yet, my parents brought me up to be very independent and were not surprised that I chose to settle down in DC, which is almost 5,000 miles from home.  Eventually, my parents missed me too much and left the island where I grew up to move to the mainland to be closer to their now-adult-daughter.  With them being only an hour away from me now, I do not visit them as often as I should.  So while Keith was away, I decided to spend the weekend with my parents and convinced my Dad to make one of my all time favorite meals.  Check out my Dad's Stuffed Shells here on What Micky Eats...At Home.

When I suggested cooking at home, as opposed to going out to a restaurant for dinner, my Dad was hesitant at first. He usually doesn't want to be bothered with complex recipes, and would rather buy food than make it himself.  But when I said I wanted his stuffed shells, he perked up and stated how it had actually been a while since he's made it.  So off to the grocery store we went to get all the ingredients. I also picked up a nice loaf of freshly baked rosemary and olive oil bread to accompany the dish.  Dad said he had wine at home we could choose from.  Confident that he had everything we needed, we headed home and I could tell my Dad was getting excited to make this special dish and finally said he wanted to do everything himself, but would allow me to document the process for my blog.  (What a true fan!)

Mom made her trademark salad full of colors, textures, and crunchy goodness with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  This time she used Bibb lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red pepper, mushrooms, and carrots topped with black olives, sliced almonds, walnuts, and dried cranberries.  Sounds like a lot going on, but it is delicious.  Normally she adds fresh bleu cheese crumbles or her latest favorite, machego cheese, but left them off this time since there was so much cheese in the stuffed shells already.

We had such a great family meal together.  Nothing fancy or too elaborate, just a good ole' home cooked meal made with love.

Dad's Stuffed Shells
  • 12 oz box jumbo shells
  • 32 oz ricotta
  • mozzarella, shredded
  • Parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg
  • basil, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, black pepper to taste
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • ½ carton baby Portobella mushrooms, sliced

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil water to cook box of jumbo shells until super al dente. (They will cook more while baking.)
- Mix ricotta, egg, and seasoning in a large bowl using a fork.
- After the egg is incorporated, add in mozzarella and Parmesan.  Mix together.
- Heat up tomato sauce, adding extra seasoning as desired and mushrooms until stewed together.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside to cool enough to handle.
- Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of an aluminum baking tray or a glass casserole dish.
- Fill each shell with the cheese using a spoon, and layer on bottom of tray.
- Continue until tray is full.  Cover shells with mushroom tomato sauce. 
- A second layer can be added, if there are additional shells.
- Cover with more mozzarella cheese and seasoning, as desired.
- Bake for 30 minutes until all the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!

Just look at all that cheesy ooey-gooey goodness!  This dish is so simple to make, yet brings fond memories of my childhood back to me.  I will always associate this meal as a special treat made with love by my Dad (awwwweee ) and was happy to feature it on What Micky Eats...At Home.  He made such a large tray full, so there were plenty of leftovers for me to take home.  Although he makes it vegetarian, just the way I like it, feel free to put your own twist and add ground meat or sausage in the sauce.  Do you have any favorite dishes made by your parents that are "special requests" when you visit?


  1. Thanks for such a wonderful article! I really enjoyed it.

  2. Mmm..How come you never made that for me?? LOL I love when my mom makes eggplant parmaesan and finally got to make that the other day with our own, grown from our garden, eggplants!!! It was delish! I will have to send you over the recipe!

    1. Using home grown fresh veggies is the best, isn't it? I love eggplant parm! Yes, please share the recipe!

  3. I can't believe it, but I've never made stuff shells!! These look great, and I love your mom's idea of a salad ;)

    1. Thanks! Yes, it seems hard, but once you gather all the ingredients it's pretty easy to stuff and bake.


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