Frog Prince like to have a nice dinner together every once and a while... a dinner that makes it feel like we're eating out.
One of our favorite dishes for our "date night" is stuffed shells.
I like this dinner because it goes together easily, and can even be prepped in the morning. This way, I can make a nice dinner, but also set a nice table and put on something other than sweatpants for our date!
For us, this dinner is relatively cheap too. I buy the shells when they are on sale, and since we're only cooking for two of us, we can usually get two meals of stuffed shells out of the box. Thus, we have half on one date night, and half on another date night a few weeks later! We always have frozen spaghetti sauce in our freezer as well as cheese, spinach and diced bell peppers (all purchased on sale). I typically schedule this date-night meal when ricotta cheese is on sale, making it a relatively frugal date night dish!
Red Pepper, Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells** - SnoWhite
1 box large pasta shells
1 T olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp. salt
1 T basil
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese*
2 C homemade spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, to taste*
*You can use low fat cheeses
Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Alternatively, if you are prepping the night before or in the morning, just stuff the shells without cooking them first -- as they sit in your fridge all day, your shells will get soft.
Then, saute, in just a little olive oil, your red peppers, mushrooms, garlic and spinach.
Remove from the heat so it can cool just a bit.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and basil together.
When the veggies have cooled off a bit (you don't want to cook the egg!), add them to the ricotta mixture.
Rinse and drain the cooked pasta shells and carefully stuff the shells with filling. Place them in a lightly greased baking dish that has a bit of spaghetti sauce spread on the bottom.
Pour spaghetti sauce over the top of the shells.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover (I use a cookie sheet) and bake at 350 for ~30 minutes.
Remove the cover and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the dish is warmed through.
Enjoy your romantic dinner!
**The photos show half the recipe, which uses 1/2 a box of shells. Just half all the other ingredients to make a half batch!
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