Recipe I’m Loving

I know everyone loves the Pioneer Woman, and so many people have found success with her recipes.  Early on she talked a lot about her “Best Lasagna Ever,” or something like that.  We love lasagna and red sauced Italian food in general, so I had to give it a try.  Pat gave me a strange look when I mentioned that cottage cheese was on our grocery list…and maybe second guessed our decision to make the dish when I mentioned it also called for breakfast sausage….  I said, “It’s supposed to be ‘the best lasagna ever,’ you’ve got to trust the process!”  Well………

I WAS WRONG!

That lasagna was horrible.  I know there are lots of reviews to the contrary (although quite a few people agree with me, too), but that was hands-down one of the worst dishes we’ve made.

All that said, I still love Ree Drummond, and I had to give more of her recipes a chance to overcome the the world’s worst lasagna experience.  That’s when I found this little jewel:

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

I adore this dish.  It’s not very hard to make, and it’s incredibly delicious.  I make a couple of changes to the recipe, though.

  • I use a 12 oz package of shells because that’s what they had a my grocery store.  It’s worked out great, though, because I increase the other ingredients a little too and make more.  
  • I use the amount of cheese she calls for, but I usually just use the ricotta and asiago because I get a big chunk of asiago at Sam’s Club and always have it on hand.
  • When my basil plant isn’t producing, I substitute dried.
  • For the meat I either use hot Italian sausage or a mix of ground chuck and sausage…I usually use a little more than called for because I use more shells and sauce.
  • I use two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes instead of what she calls for.  
This dish makes a lot, especially since I use more shells and sauce, but it freezes really well!  I usually make a 9×13 dish full for now and freeze a smaller casserole dish full for later.  
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