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Kicked Up Stuffed Shells with That's-A Spicy Pizza Sauce-A!

We decided to add a zing to our meat sauce tonight, when making stuffed shells at home. I typically make meat sauce in the crockpot, letting it simmer all day, then freeze it in 2, 4 and 6 serving bags for a quick dinner any night of the week.

For the meat sauce, I brown 2 lbs. lean ground beef with 1 lb. Italian Sausage. Drain those and set aside. I chop 1-2 yellow onions, 1 green pepper, lots of fresh mushrooms, carrots, celery, and fresh garlic. I place all of these along with meat into a large crockpot, then add a variety of diced tomatoes (3-4 cans), tomato paste (1 can), & San Marzano crushed tomatoes (2 large cans). Once combined, I add lots of fresh basil, and a combo of dried oregano, parsley, fresh ground black pepper and Himalayan pink salt, rosemary, thyme, and a couple bay leaves. I set the crockpot on low for 10 hours and let it do its magic.

To prepare the stuffed shells, I boiled the shells for 6 minutes so they still have some shape and are easy to fill. Drain those and set aside. I combined a bag of thawed meat sauce with 1/2 can of our spicy pizza sauce.

I start by scooping a small amount of sauce at the bottom of the pan, then stuff shells with meat sauce and place in the pan until filled. Add your favorite cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, pepper jack) to finish and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. I typically broil the dish for 2 minutes at the end, so the cheese gets browned a bit. Like lasagna, let the dish sit for a few minutes on the counter before serving. This dish goes great with a big salad, tossed with Celebration Time Dressing, Dip, & Marinade for a great Italian Night In!



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