Thursday, August 13, 2015

Massive Tray of Stuffed Shells for a Crowd #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: My husband comes from a biiiggg family. So a casual get-together can grow from four people to fifteen in the blink of an eye. That happened a couple of weeks ago when we went to Maine to celebrate my mother-in-law's 102nd birthday. (I know isn't she amazing?)

I'm aware, as I write the Key West mysteries, that Hayley makes cooking for a group--on the spur of the moment--look so easy! And to be truthful, I'm not quite the kitchen whiz that she is.

But this is really a recipe you can whip up in a couple of hours and pop into the oven at the last minute. So if you're responsible for dinner, and Hayley doesn't step in, you will need a recipe like this which is tasty, but expands to fill a crowd. Here it is, my recipe for a massive tray of stuffed shells:


2 12 ounce packages large shells
Two 32 oz jars marinara sauce (your choice)
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
32 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella
 1 cup shredded Parmesan/Romano/asiago cheese

Cook the shells as directed on the package. Drain and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool. 

Squeeze the thawed spinach dry. Mix the cheeses and the spinach well in a large bowl. 

Oil a large pan--I used my turkey pan. Dump the sauce in the pan. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture, and dredge them in the marinara sauce. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top. 

Bake at 350 until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve with good bread, a big green salad, and maybe some corn on the cob.

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  1. Looks so good! I wish I was a quiz at cooking/baking. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Thanks for the great recipe Lucy. I've pinned it to my pinterest page (so much easier then cut & paste to a recipe file).

  3. Lucy, you're baking them IN the pan where you've dumped the sauce, right? Sounds great! And congrats to your MIL!

  4. Happy Birthday to your Mother-in-Law! These stuffed shells look awesome!

  5. One hundred and two!! Wow. Happy birthday.


  6. Your MIL looks fabulous! I wish her many more happy gatherings.
    The recipe sounds yummy, but stuffing each shell? Now that is a labor of love!

  7. Yummy recipe! A very, very Happy Birthday to your MIL! There is no way that she looks 102 - good genes!

  8. Happy birthday to your mother-in-law!!! :-) Thanks for sharing the recipe, too, this would be great for a potluck! :-)

  9. Thanks everyone for the good wishes! Definitely good genes in that family. Leslie, yes, make the shells in the sauce all in the big pan. Libby, stuffing the shells doesn't really take that long. Nicole yes, perfect for a potluck!

  10. Your MIL does look amazing. Please pass on our best wishes - 102 is quite an accomplishment. This recipe is an accomplishment too. I am going to make it for the next time we have the in-laws ad the outlaws (as we think of our family). They will love it and so will I. Thank you!



  11. She looks like one sassy lady! I love it. And love the recipe--we always have pasta on Christmas Eve and I'm thinking this would make a great change from lasagna!

  12. Oh, that really looks good! We recently had a family reunion, it was my mother's family, all of her kids and our kids and grandkids, there were 81 of us there. My husband and I were responsible for one meal. We made a very large batch of sloppy Joe's. (We have a lot of kids and grandkids so we were responsible for a large portion of people there.) My brother and his wife are also responsible for a large part of the group so they made walking tacos. My other siblings did Cowboy Beans and Brats for the third meal. It all went very well! But your recipe would be great for our Family Camp some summer when we have all our kids and most of the grandkids here. That would be about 25 or so. Thanks!

    1. cooking for 81??? now that's a job that makes my hub's family look small! now I'm curious about the walking tacos...

  13. Roberta, I believe you're ready to start catering! Those look delicious. All best to your mother-in-law. She looks fabulous!!!