Week 4:: Dinner, Stuffed Shells
The kids started school last week. With that we also picked up 4 nights of soccer, 1 piano lesson, 1 cub scout night, and 1 church youth night. I’m not complaining, I know I’m not alone in this boat. We work hard to not over schedule our kids, but when there are five, it takes a lot of discipline to make sure I’m not an over-scheduled mom. With this in mind last week two dozen ladies and I gathered in the kitchen at church to learn all about freezing dinners. We had a little 101 on freezing, and then got to work making up some little samples to take home and test on our families. It was great fun and so eye opening! We made breakfast burritos, spaghetti sauce and stuffed shells. Last night we taste tested the stuffed shells.
The recipe resembles your favorite lasagna cheese mixture and was so simple to make. I’ve always shied away from making this in the past because it seemed tedious and time consuming. Nope. Totally doable.
16 Jumbo pasta shells
1 (10oz) frozen spinach, thawed cooked and water pressed out
1 c. cottage cheese (small curd)
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated onion
Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, cook spinach according to package directions. Drain, and press out all extra liquid. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, cottage cheese, mozzarella and onion. Rinse pasta with cold water. Fill with mixture and either freeze as a single layer in a large ziplock bag, or place in a lightly oiled 9×13 pan, pour with 2 cups of pasta sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes at 375.
That’s the problem with pictures isn’t it. It looked delicious, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I will need to do some additional tweaking to get the final product I want. I already added an egg and upped the amount of cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese I used. But what I really needed to add were spices to help bring out and enhance flavors. So I’ll be buying some more shells and giving this a second round. I really want this to work.
My fridge is filled with peppers that are waiting to get sliced with onions for fajitas and stir-fry. And I’ve stocked up on eggs, sausage, peppers and onions, cheese and tortillas so we can make lots and lots of breakfast burritos (they are quite yummy!). I’m also planning a trip to the library to check out some good freezer meal books. I’m not thinking I’ll be doing the once-a-month cooking method, but I would like to have a few healthy meals in the freezer for the really hectic nights.
Do you do homemade freezer meals? What are your favorite recipes? I’m such a novice, I’d love to hear your tips and recipes.
BTW, it’s week 4 of the Photography Challenge over at A Step in the Journey. I have a couple of favorites from this week. I’m looking for some new things to make for kids to take in lunches and these pizza puffs are getting added to the testing list. I love how you can see the kids waiting for dinner in the background of this shot. I had hoped a fun interpretation like this one would present itself this week, but it didn’t. And I am always envious of those who can capture everyday life, everyday experiences well.