Bacon and Spinach Five-Cheese Stuffed Shells

What’s this? Lady Bison is writing about a dinner dish she made? What’s going on?!

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

I know, I know… I’m in shock too.

Ever since JP and I started dating, I haven’t really made too many dinners; before we met I maintained a pretty awful fast-food-and-Ramen-noodles sort of diet, so I have no fantastic secret recipes to contribute to our little cookbook. John’s a professional chef after all, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can come up with amazing recipes out of thin air (while I, meanwhile, see a fridge full of food and can’t think of anything to make).

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

All in all, we’ve got a pretty sweet arrangement going on: John loves cooking, so making dinner is actually fun for him. I obviously want to learn more from Chef (and I am, slowly but surely!), but in the meanwhile, if I cook, it’s thanks to Pinterest or a blatant suggestion — which is where this weekend’s dinner came alive. John mentioned in passing a little while ago that he’s been craving stuffed shells, so I thought I’d try my hand at it – and wowza, did they turn out well!

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

When I got the idea in my head to surprise him, I asked a friend for her recipe (which is super similar to this version online from The Recipe Critic). I made a few adjustments, like substituting the basil with spinach and using a fabulous Italian blend cheese that’s a mix of not four, not five, but SIX cheeses — mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, romano, fontina, and asiago. I also tried this new bacon and provolone Prego sauce to give the dish some of that smoked bacon flavor JP loves.

Easy stuffed shell recipe using Prego Bacon and Provolone sauce for a little extra flavor | theblueberrybison.com

Speaking of sauce, I used more than the other recipe(s) called for because, well, when I poured it in the pan it just didn’t look right to me and I didn’t want to risk the shells coming out crunchy and dried out; turns out it was a good call!

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

I’m happy to say it made John’s night to come home to a surprise dinner! And, even better (for me anyway), chef said it was perfect – so excuse me while I do a little happy dance.

recipe1For the cheese filling:

15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups Italian blend cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ to ½ cup spinach, chopped or julienned
1 egg

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

Combine all of your ingredients in one bowl and mix well.

NOTE: I used the dried supermarket parmesan cheese because apparently fresh shredded parm is the first to go in a snowstorm? ha! But seriously, turns out it was a worthy swap because John said it almost acted as a flour-like binder to tighten up the cheese mix, so… win!

For the shells:

24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your jumbo shells just a bit beyond the instructions on the package, then drain and rinse in cold water.

NOTE: John taught me that, because jumbo shells are a thicker pasta, they’re more durable (which makes them a little harder to overcook). It’s not that you can’t do a stuffed shell dish with slightly underdone pasta (because you can!) but that calls for more sauce and results in a sort of caramelized final product, which isn’t what I wanted for this particular dish.

If you have trouble spooning the cheese filling into pasta shells, try piping it instead! | theblueberrybison.comTo fill your shells, there’s two ways you can go about it: you can either scoop the cheese mix into the shells with a spoon or, if it’s easier, fill a plastic bag with the cheese mix and pipe it into the shells.

Bacon and Spinach Six Cheese Stuffed Shells | theblueberrybison.com

To finish your dish:

1.5 jars of Prego Bacon and Provolone
½ cup Italian blend cheese
Dash of Italian seasoning

Pour one full jar of marinara sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish and spread evenly. Line the dish with your stuffed shells and then top with the remaining sauce, cheese, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes (uncovering in the last 5-10 minutes). Enjoy!

BACON AND SPINACH SIX CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS | theblueberrybison.com

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathy Laws says:

    This truly looks amazing, between the title and main image, looks likes something i would enjoy 🙂

  2. DAT COLOUR. amazing. and you’re right, more sauce is always the answer.

  3. mamaraylene says:

    Okay, the next thing mamaraylene has to do is give you my homemade sauce recipe 😉 Looks super delish and i’m so very proud of you!!!!

  4. PotSoup says:

    Brilliant Photos! Brilliant Food! I can almost taste the cheese from thousands of miles away. Bacon, spinach and cheese you’d have to make an effort for this to go wrong and then there is tomato sauce, YUMMMMMMM!

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