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Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Lotsa Cheese" Filled Jumbo Shells

OH YUM...Who doesn't like cheese? Cheese makes everything better, right? Yes, I know, there are plenty of you out there that don't like cheese... but for those of us who LOVE it..this is a scrumptious recipe to try! I use to make this recipe a lot but for some reason I've gone years and never made them. I don't know why, because we loved them so much. I guess I just got out of the habit...They are a little time consuming, but well worth it. The recipe calls for "Ricotta" cheese, but Ricotta is sometimes difficult to find (at least in our area) so I tried something different...I used cottage cheese and cream cheese combined and we liked it so much better! The Ricotta has a grainy texture to it (which I don't like) and the cottage cheese made the mixture a lot more creamy...I guess its all in what you like.

"Lotsa Cheese" Filled Jumbo Shells

1 pkg. (12 oz.) jumbo shells, cooked and drained, according to package directions
4 c. (2 lb.) Ricotta cheese OR 4 c. cottage cheese + 4 oz. cream cheese
      *if you are using the cottage cheese make sure you put it in a strainer and rinse all of the creamy stuff 
        off and then drain well. 
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 T. parsley
3/4 t. dried oregano leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 c. (about 28 oz. jar) spaghetti sauce (I think the thick sauce works best)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl (or food processor...thats what I used) stir together cheeses, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper until smooth. In a 9x13 baking dish (I actually had enough to do a little more than a 9x13...so I used an 8x8 square baking dish as well), spread about 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce. Fill each cooked shell with about 2-3 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture then place shells with the cheese side facing up, into the baking dish. Continue this process until all of the shells are filled. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce onto the shells. Don't add too much sauce or you end up with a soupy mess. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese if desired. Cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. ENJOY!!! 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

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