When Mumika finished X-Ray school and got her first job as a rad tech, I remember her going through a beef stuff shell phase. I was either 9 or 10 and she thought they were the most amazing things ever created. She would make large batches of these bloody shells and freeze them. I swear it took roughly 3 months of eating them once a week to eat all those shells. By the time they were eaten up, I had had my fair share of them and vowed never to eat them again. These shells were also the reason behind my hatred of ricotta cheese. Well, that and premade lasagna.
21 years later, I get a craving for them. It took me 21 years, to want eat them. 21! If it was a person, it would be out with a sash stating, “I’m 21!” with a nip slip pounding down as many shots as possible trying it’s damnedest not to throw up. That sentence actually reminds me of my old friend’s 21st birthday but that’s besides the point.
What’s the point? Sometimes, it takes you a million years to want to eat food after it gets shoved down your throat for what seems like forever. This is what our weekly menu looked like when I was roughly 10:
Monday – whatever
Tuesday – Sauzas (a Mexican restaurant where I ate cheese enchiladas ever single Tuesday for I think 2 years straight)
Wednesday – whatever
Thursday – Pork Chops
Friday – Lasagna (at a person’s house that I no longer talk to)
Saturday – grilling of some kind cuz loser boyfriend # 1 was always over with his two brats
Sunday – either Burger King or at loser boyfriend # 1 house eating steak and potatoes of some kind.
And that was my food life. It’s pretty pathetic. Except for Sunday steak night despite being over at loser boyfriend # 1’s house until roughly 9PM. But I won’t go there. Those were dark times in my household, dark times indeed.
Because it had been so long since I ate beef stuffed shells, I decided why not make it myself. Looked simple, looked easy. Definitely did not look like Mumika’s recipe because I swear it took her a whole day to make these things. Oh wait, it’s cuz she made 3 month batches of them. Every time she took the frozen batches out for dinner, I would groan in “Aren’t we done with this shit yet? Where are they coming from?” despair.
I’ve made this recipe before. It was one of the first things I made at the inlaws. Bryan loved them. So when I went to visit Mumika, I decided this was going to be the first dinner I made during my visit. Add a little bit of nostalgia to her birthday visit.
Beef Stuffed Shells
30 Jumbo Shells
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
15 ounce ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
Additional grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Cook beef, Italian seasonings and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and remove from heat.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan and egg in a medium bowl. Stir in beef and garlic mixture.
Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in 13×9 baking dish.
Stuff meat mixture into each shell.
Arrange shells in a single layer baking dish.
Sprinkle any remaining meat mixture over shells. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Makes 30 Shells. PER SHELL. Calories: 136, Carbohydrates: 12 grams, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 9 grams.
A few tips. When stuffing the shells, use your hands. Don’t be scared to get down and dirty with it. It’s way easier than using a spoon. Also, if the shells won’t open, push the sides in, and it should open up that way.
This definitely did not taste the way Mumika made them all those years ago. I love it. The creaminess of the ricotta, the cheese in and on top of the shells. The Italian seasonings takes the flavor over the edge. It’s like individual Italian food wrapped up in a little bow. I love it. Potion control at it’s finest.
The best part is I can’t eat more than 3 shells and I’m full.