I love to stuff things. Bell peppers, tomatoes, apples, pasta, almost anything. Except turkey. Which is weird because that's what you think of when you hear "stuffing", but I don't care for it. I like my Mama's cornbread dressing on the side for Thanksgiving. But, I digress.
Back to the topic at hand. The following recipes are all stuffed. They're fun to prepare and make for a pretty presentation. So, they are great for a dinner party, but still easy enough to make any time.
This recipe is, hands down, my favorite. It is so good! I don't make it too often because I can't stop eating it! Really, I give myself a tummy ache every time. But, it's so worth it!
1/2 pkg jumbo shells pasta
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh basil (or parsley)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded mozarella, divided
Cook shells according to package directions, but take them out about a minute before (under cook them a bit; they'll finish in the oven). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix ricotta, egg, basil, 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of mozarella. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine. When pasta is done, gently drain and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool enough to handle. (you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes if you want). Put a thin layer of sauce in a 9x13 baking dish. Stuff about 1 heaping Tablespoonful into each shell and place into the dish (on top of sauce). It should make about 16 shells. After all are stuffed, drizzle a little sauce over each shell. Then, sprinkle 1 cup mozarella, then 1/4 cup parmesan on top. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with extra sauce.
If you want to make more, use the whole box of shells and double the recipe. These freeze beautifully!
You can also add some chopped spinach to the filling, if desired.
This next recipe was a staple in my house growing up. My Mama made it all the time. There are a lot if variations of this dish, but this is how I make it. (Hint: It's the easy way)
STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
6 bell peppers, any color
1 lb ground beef
1 package Dirty Rice mix *
1 small can tomato sauce
Put a big pot of water to boil on the stove. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tops off peppers. Throw the stems away, but keep the rings of pepper you cut off. Dice the rings up and reserve. Clean out the seeds and ribs from the inside of the peppers. Boil them until fork tender. Drain and set aside. While peppers are boiling, brown ground beef with reserved diced peppers. Add Dirty Rice mix and cook according to package directions. When dirty rice is done and peppers have cooled enough to handle, stuff each pepper with it. Place the stuffed peppers in a greased baking dish. Top each with a bit of the tomato sauce mixed with a few dashes of hot sauce. Put any extra dirty rice in the baking dish around the peppers. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
*If you don't have Dirty Rice mix:
Saute some diced onion and bell pepper with ground beef. Add a few dashes of hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in 2 cups cooked, cold rice. (Hot rice will turn to mush). Stir well. Stuff peppers with this.
I wanted a "Stuffed" dessert for the blog. I thought about stuffed apples, or stuffed tart shells, but settled on this. I saw a lady do this on t.v. and it brought back memories of when I was a little girl. It's a feel good dessert.
S'MORES STUFFED BANANAS
Leave banana in peel. Cut each banana long ways, but not all the way through. You are trying to make a pocket to stuff. Stuff each banana with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers. As much as you like. Wrap it in foil and heat it in the oven until everything is melted and gooey! It takes about 10-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Or you can heat them over a fire outdoors!
This is what they look like before you cook them:
And this is what they look like after you cook them:
Ooey, gooey goodness! They sort of taste like a banana cream pie!
So, the next time you want something different for dinner, but you're not sure what to do...Stuff it!