Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saucy Stuffed Shells

 I have always wanted to try stuffed shells, but generally every recipe I have found has been filled to the brim with cottage cheese or cheese of some sort. I was thrilled to find this recipe, and I was so glad I splurged on a new spice addition - fennel seeds. The fennel seeds are the secret to this delicious flavor, so don't substitute! This was sooo delicious, I will be making it again and again for sure. The recipe said it serves 4, but I don't think it would serve 4 adults. 2 adults and 2 children or maybe 3 adults, so keep that in mind. Also if your kids go crazy over noodles, throw in a few extra noodles. Even if they don't get stuffed they will still devour them! (I cooked 16 and ended up stuffing 13)

Saucy Stuffed Shells
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
Serves 2-4

12 dried jumbo shell macaroni
12 ounces ground beef or ground pork
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (or red works great too)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 15-16 ounce jar meatless spaghetti sauce

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain again.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook ground meat, onion, sweet pepper, and garlic until meat is brown. Drain.
In a medium bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, fennel seeds, salt, and black pepper. Add the meat mixture and 1/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce; mix well. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into each macaroni shell. Arrange the filled shells in a 2-quart baking dish. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the filled shells. Cover the dish with foil.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
*Note: I have frozen this dish before- just cover with plastic wrap and tinfoil after arranging them in the dish and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight or all day, take off the plastic wrap and tinfoil, replace tinfoil on top and bake as above.

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