Stuffed Shells

stuffed shells

When Sip’N Dip came to visit a few weeks ago I made stuffed shells.  I knew she ate them at home so it was a pretty safe bet to make.  I was originally going to make manicotti, but after seeing I didn’t have any of the manicotti noodles I used what I had on hand… shells.  It’s such a simple recipe and just so comforting.  I call it part Sandra Lee Semi Homemade since I use jarred spaghetti sauce.  Don’t judge…



1 lb. lamb (or if you must, hamburger)

1 onion, chopped small

2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce

2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tbsp. minced garli

1 tbsp. sugar

salt to taste

1 package large shells


1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 c. parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a heavy saucepan, large enough to hold the two jars of sauce, brown the lamb.  Remove from pan and drain.  In that same pan, add about 1 tbsp. olive oil and the chopped onion.  Let it cook until tender, about 7 minutes.  Return the lamb to the pan.  Add the rest of the     “sauce” ingredients listed under sauce and let it cook over low for about an hour.  It should reduce and become rich in color.  Taste, add extra seasoning if needed.

Cook the shells, but do not cook all the way.  You want them to be workable, but not cooked so they will fall apart, VERY al dente.  While the shells are cooking make the filling.  Put all the “filling” ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Once the shells are at a workable tenderness drain and let cool until you can handle them.  Once cooled enough, stuff with the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put enough sauce on the bottom of a baking dish to cover completely.  Place the shells on top of the sauce, then generously cover with the remaining sauce.  Place in the oven and let cook for 35 minutes.







ethiopian food

Food in my family is definitely not just meat and potatoes.  We enjoy food from many different cultures, countries, you name it.  We are lucky that so far we have not encountered any food allergies, honestly, I can’t imagine dealing with the restrictions that come from them.  Last night I made my imitation of a dish we get at one of our favorite Ethiopian restaurants in Seattle, Awash.  It comes on the huge planter, each half mirroring the other.  You get lamb, chicken, okra, greens, eggs, lentils, a potato, carrot, cabbage mixture, cheese, and that lovely injera bread that you use to eat.  It’s a beautiful presentation, no frills, but still beautiful.

They use a spice mix called berbere and it’s very addictive.  I get cravings for it, and absolutely nothing will satiate my taste buds except for my beloved Ethiopian food.  Meals are nice and slow (hence the reason we don’t go with the twinadoes), so unless we go without the shorties I make it at home.

In the immediate vicinity of my home there are no Ethiopian stores to purchase the injera, so when I know I’m heading to Seattle I will plan on making Ethiopian food since that’s where I get mine.  I’ve seen the recipes to make injera, but it’s very labor intensive and takes practice.  The berbere can be purchased online from many spice companies if you are unable to find a local market.  The rest of the ingredients are pretty much all things you could find at your local grocery store.  Normally I also make chicken, but I didn’t last night.  Something I like to include that isn’t on the plate of the one from Awash is shiro wot, or chickpea stew.  It’s made from ground chickpeas and some of that delicious berbere.  The recipes I use come from a co-worker who was born and raised in Ethiopia.  He would write down the recipes on the back of old patient orders and scraps of paper.  Being the sentimental person I am, I saved them all, had them laminated and keep them with the rest of my treasured recipes.

My next treasure hunt will be to find a large round platter like the one they use in the restaurant.  It perfectly fits the bread and is just so lovely.  For now, I’ll keep using my plain white platter.

I’ll write a post with the recipes I use, and I hope it will inspire you to try this delicious food.  But be warned, it’s addictive!!!