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Firemen’s Beef-Stuffed Shells

Stuffed+shells

9 out of 10 firemen can’t be wrong.

So Friday morning, you may have heard, I did a cooking segment on BT at the new Le Creuset store in Chinook (yes, I’m working on free stuff here! there are channels to go through!) WITH the firemen from the 2011 Hot Stuff calendar. Yes, my job does not suck at all some days. Although it must be said that Jill had a little more firefigher attention than I did. Possibly a lot.

We cooked with beef – ground sirloin, which comes from a single cut (sirloin) rather than a bunch (which you typically get with ground beef), which I like the idea of, plus you get the taste of a steak in ground form. Bonus: ground sirloin has about the same amount of fat as the extra-lean ground beef you’ll get at the grocery store, but with far better flavour and texture. Our theme was cooking with beef and beefcakes, surrounded by Le Creuset. Forget whiskers on kittens – these are a few of my favourite things. The coffee at Phil & Sebastian right next door completed me.

We made shepherd’s pies, a beefy Moroccan dish with olives and couscous, and these stuffed shells.
(Or rather they made them, under my -loose- direction.) They had it covered. They did a little improv. When the second wave of firemen arrived to eat, the consensus was the stuffed shells were their favourite. They’re like little two-bite lasagnas, filled with beef, spinach and ricotta and topped with melty cheese. How could you not adore them? I must admit I’ve always wondered who buys giant pasta shells to stuff – but despite their slipperiness and the fact that several tore or broke and were nibbled on by W or fed to the dog, I’ll be making them again. It was quick – I cooked up the beef, onion and garlic while boiling the shells, added it to some ricotta and spinach (the second time I added a spoonful of pesto, too), spooned the mixture into the shells (kids love getting in on this part, and it wasn’t at all finicky), poured sauce over, sprinkled with cheese and baked until bubbly. Easy. They freeze well (before baking), so you can make a big batch, divide it between two baking dishes, eat one right away and freeze the other for another night. Bake it straight from frozen.

Here’s the recipe – it’s very adaptable though – we didn’t measure particularly closely.

[cooked-recipe id="21028"]
(recipe not found or in draft status)

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17 comments on “Firemen’s Beef-Stuffed Shells

  1. rose
    February 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Julie

    I’ve decided to keep a rotating list of recipes to roll through each month and have just printed off the sausage and chickpea soup recipe and the shredded cabbage and spaghetti salad. We had that one on the weekend and it was fabulous. I’ll troll through your site and print out all the recipes for main courses I’ve wanted to try and put into a 3 ring binder. We’ll be eating your easy delicious meals most nights! Thanks for this! And, you’ve made me so keen to visit Calgary..(I’m in Vancouver) to try the places you rave about.
    Thanks,
    Rose

  2. Cheryl
    February 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Yum! Morgan said it all smelled good.

  3. Fiona
    February 17, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Cooking with beef and beefcakes…that’s funny!

    I buy those giant shells. I stuff them with broccoli, cauliflower and ricotta. Actually, the recipe I use looks the same as yours, with the exception of the sirloin. I hadn’t thought of freezing them before. Duh.

  4. Elaine
    February 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

    That sounds amazing! (Oh. The recipe does, too.)

  5. Jennifer
    February 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

    These sound similar to shells I’ve made before, although the spinach is a brilliant addition – I’ll be making your version soon!

    One tip for you … I found if you don’t boil the shells completely until done (a firm al dente), they actually don’t tear nearly as much. Since they complete the cooking process in the oven, they tend to hold up rather well.

  6. Marissa
    February 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Hi Julie,

    I was wondering if you ground the sirloin yourself or bought it somewhere in Calgary? It sounds much better than regular hamburger. Love your blog!

  7. Theresa
    February 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

    why don’t YOU have a wiki page Julie??? 😀

    I’m making this recipe!!

    Lucky girl to be with those firefighters. Lots of them are really good cooks too!

  8. bellini
    February 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I am making a stuffed pasta as we speak Julie, the stuffing here would have been perfect!!!

  9. Nurse Jenn
    February 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I was rather hoping for some pictures of the beefcakes … oh well. Your job is really neat! Loved the idea. Might just put it into my dinner rotation.

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  10. Cathy N in Inglewood Calgary
    February 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Mmmmmm… this sounds delish! Last night we had your Spolumbo’s sausage and chickpea soup and my hubby, W, was in heaven – he thinks you are an angel!! Now when I make this nummy dish I’m not sure where you will be notched up to!!

    I also christened my beautiful newly won (from Free Stuff)painted wine glass (Glassware Creations by Laurie) and I swear the wine tasted ever so much better being drunk from it!! Thank you so much, Julie – I will treasure it forever! (Everyone now knows whose wine is Cathy’s!)

  11. Ironic Mom
    February 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I was hoping for some pictures to go with the, um, beefcake.

  12. Laurie from Burnaby
    February 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

    That’s funny! Talk about perks on the job! I don’t do pasta, so I make things like this without the shells (for people with celiac, or chron’s or gluten intolerance). Just add less water and cool until done. Come out like a cake, all cheesy. slice and serve with whatever you’re allowed to have.

  13. Erica B.
    February 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Mmmm beefcake 😉 http://www.cfbts.org/Hotstuff/Hotstuff.html for anyone wondering about the hotstuff calendar.

    I often make stuffed shells like with just ricotta and spinach – the addition of beef sounds good, especially on cold days like this. I actually might try ground bison or chicken too. Lots of possibilities. I like Jennifer’s suggestion of cooking the shells more al dente to make them easier to stuff. When I stuff shells I use my small cookie scoop to push the shell open and drop in the filling – makes for quicker filling and a little less mess.

  14. Dana
    February 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    So many firefighters are great cooks! I bet they loved this, men and their beef. 😛

  15. Sherry
    February 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Those are some hearty stuffed shells! I’m sure they’d hit the spot.

  16. Barb
    February 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Oh Thank-you for the glance at the calendar! Yum! (I’m talking about the the shells now)

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