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"Everything she cooks is delicious'

By JUDY LINDER-ASHAKIH • Feb 7, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Christine Strehle loves to cook and has since she was young. She also likes to take a recipe and make it her own because she is allergic to MSG and because she doesn’t care for onions.

But, she said, “you can certainly put them in if you like.”

"I found a recipe similar to this one on line but I like to be inspired with new recipes and never do them exactly. I switch them up. Lots of the time I don’t measure because I know how much recipes usually take. I love to cook and could hardly decide what to make today — a main dish or a dessert. 

“These shells are jumbo shells and can be eaten with your hand. It’s not a heavy meal if you put a side salad with it. This dish is nice because it can be prepared ahead, put in the fridge for a few days, then baked when you need it. Plan for about an hour and a half from start to finish, an hour to prep ingredients, cook the sausage, and make the sauce. Thirty minutes is all it takes to bake, either immediately or from the fridge. Leftovers warm up well.

"I have been cooking healthier these days,” Strehle continued, “replacing some of the ingredients with healthier options. Because of my allergy I try to cook everything all natural so all my recipes are for natural ingredients now. I’ve researched everything in this recipe. That is why the sausage is Bob Evans natural pork sausage. I know a lot of people are allergic these days. 

"My neighbor, when I was young, was like a Godmother to me. She taught me to can and to cook. My mother still cans a bit. I may make my own natural cookbook for my family some day. 

"My husband and whole family love this recipe for shells. We always eat together as a family. It very important."

"This is my favorite meal," her husband said as he smiles. “But then everything she cooks is delicious."

 

Stuffed shells

Ingredients:

• 2 12 ounce packages jumbo pasta shells (probably won’t use all)

• 2 pound Bob Evans naturally pork sausage (ground)

• 2 large eggs (beaten)

• 15 ounce Ricotta cheese

• 5 ounce fresh spinach (chopped)

• 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

• Small jar of any marinara sauce

• 1 package of cherry tomatoes

• salt and pepper for taste

• garlic salt for taste

Directions:

Bring a larg pot of salted water to boil and add shells. Cook and drain pasta and set aside.

Over medium heat, add ground sausage, breaking into small pieces until no longer pink, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Let sausages cool and add the ground sausage to a big bowl. In the big bowl with the ground sausage add you chopped-up spinach, ricotta cheese, 2 beaten eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt, pepper, garlic salt according to how you like.

Mix well together. In (2) 9 by 13 or 8 by 8 pans (whatever you have) spread a thin layer of your marinara sauce on the bottom of each pan. This will help the shells from sticking. Now you are ready to stuff your shells. Roll up your sleeves because this is how I do it. But be sure to wash your hands first. Now start stuffing your shells with your bowl of ingredients and place in rows in your pan.

After you have filled up your pan, cut up your small cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle them on top of the stuffed shells. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. I sometimes serve these with a side salad.

It’s and easy make ahead of time, because you can prepare it, stick it in the fridge and bake it when you are ready.

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