For years, I tried to find a recipe for stuffed shells and/or manicotti that included meat in the filling. So, after lots of experimenting, I came up with my own! My husband and kids beg me to make this - they say it is the best pasta dish ever!
1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool on paper towel.
2Brown sausage in large skillet on medium heat. Drain fat and return skillet to stove. Ground beef may also be used. I prefer hot or Italian sausage.
3Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and cream cheese to skillet, continue cooking on medium heat until cream cheese is completely melted. (About 15-20 minutes).
4Pour contents of skillet into large mixing bowl. Add beaten egg, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Mixture may seem a little watery, but don't worry, it will thicken during baking.
5Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce into bottom of pan and spread around.
6Spoon meat mixture into each shell and place in pan. This recipe should make 16-18 shells. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the shells.
7Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, spread remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top of shells, and return to oven for last 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
8**Note - Optional ingredients that may be added to skillet include spinach, onions, mushrooms, depending on preference.