Cheese Stuffed Peppers and Pasta Shells

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I love stuffed vegetables—squash, peppers, tomatoes—but my kids usually turn up their noses at such things. This recipe is easily adaptable for all of our tastes, pasta shells for the kids and vegetable shells for those of us who actually enjoy food with a little color.

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One of my peppers was wobbly, so I cut a thin slice out of the bottom (being careful not to create a hole in the bottom of the pepper) to help keep the pepper level in the baking dish.

DSC02311-1 This filling is a standard ricotta manicotti filling, thick and cheesy, but I also love it mixed with spinach or other sautéed vegetables.

DSC02317-1 Stuff your peppers or pasta shells with the cheese mixture and place in a baking dish.

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DSC02325-1 Top with sauce– a jarred marinara sauce or homemade spaghetti sauce works great—and bake, covered, for about 45 minutes at 350°F.

DSC02328-1 After it is cooked through, I like to top it with a little extra cheese and pop it back in the oven for about 5 minutes.

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Serve with a tossed salad and crusty garlic bread!

RECIPE:

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Cheese Stuffed Peppers or Pasta Shells (or Manicotti)

3 whole red or green peppers   OR
——½ box jumbo shells or manicotti noodles, cooked
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan
2 eggs
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 jar marinara sauce (or about 2-3 cups homemade sauce)
Additional grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F

If using peppers, cut peppers in half and remove seeds.

Combine cheeses, eggs and seasonings. Stuff peppers (or cooked pasta shells/manicotti noodles) with cheese mixture. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place stuffed peppers/shells/manicotti in pan. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the filled peppers or shells.

Bake, covered, at 350°F for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired, and bake 5-10 minutes longer.

ALTERNATE PREPARATION: Add well-drained chopped spinach and/or other sautéed vegetables (mushrooms, onions, zucchini/squash, eggplant) to cheese mixture; stuff and bake as directed.

 

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