Staying on Budget

For people who love money.

Shells with Cheese and Spinach

This is a great way to add spinach into your diet.

When you have extra time and the weather is cold it is sometimes comforting to spend some extra time in the kitchen. This recipe is worth the time and effort. You can also find it on the Taste of Home web site

If I cannot find large shell pasta then I will either use manicotti or medium shells.

  • Manicotti substitute works the best to get a similar result. I cook the manicotti and use a knife to cut them in half so they are about the size of a large shell. Next I cut them length wise because it is easier to stuff and then fold back up.
  • If I am using medium shells then I forgo the stuffing process and do 1 layer of sauce, 1/2 the noodles, all of the filling, the rest of the noodles and top with the remaining sauce.  

Stove Top & Oven

If you have zero ingredients then this recipe will cost about $22.38 as of April 2022.

  • If you have a fully stocked pantry this dish will cost about $18.80.

I am assuming you have salt and pepper and do not add it into the recipe total cost.

Recipe serves: 12

Equipment needed: 1 pot for pasta, 1 sauté pan and 1 baking dish 13×9 inch.

Total time: 90 minutes


Let's grocery shop!

I am assuming you have salt and pepper. It is not included in pantry and spices. If you have a stocked pantry you will save about $3.58.

Pantry & Spices

Total: $3.58 as of April 2022

  • 1 pound butter $3.58


Total: $18.80 as of April 2022

  • 1 container of mushroom 8 oz $1.98
  • 1 bulb garlic $0.48
  • 1 onion $0.62
  • 1 bunch fresh basil $1.98
  • 1 can sliced ripe olives 3.8 oz $1.52
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells $1.68
  • 1 jar marinara sauce 24 oz $1.88
  • 1 container of eggs 1/2 dozen $1.58
  • 1 tub ricotta cheese 15 oz $2.12
  • 1 bag shredded italian cheese blend $1.98
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese $1.98
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach 12 oz $1.00

Let's prep!

Let's cook!

  1. Put on a pot of water to boil for pasta. Cook 24 shells to al dente.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°
  3. Melt butter in a small sauté pan on medium heat then add mushrooms, onions, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are soft then add garlic for 1 minute.
  4. Remove sauté pan from the heat and let cool
  5. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water
  6. Spray baking dish with cooking spray then open marinara sauce and spread 1.5 cups of sauce around the bottom of the pan
  7. Mix the mushroom mixture in with the cheese.
  8. Fill pasta shells with cheese mixture and place along the bottom of the pan. Smoosh them together if needed. 
  9. Cover the shells with the remaining sauce. The dish will be full. 
  10. Bake covered for 40 -45 minutes. 
  11. Uncover and spread with 3/4 cup italian mixed cheese and 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese then bake for additional 5 minutes
  12. Let the dish rest for 5 minutes. While dish is resting chop additional basil to taste to spread over the dish. Enjoy!

This recipe can also be found in Menu 4 – Family of 4

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