Our oven died. We bought it when we moved into our house, nine years ago. I’m a little frustrated it didn’t last longer, but searching around on Google it appears I picked a lemon. The piece we would need to replace is no longer being made, which makes purchasing a replacement likely more cost effective than a repair. In the meantime, I have a stove where the stovetop works, but the oven does not.
I wasn’t expecting the oven to stop working, I mean it’s not the sort of thing one pre-plans for, particularly when your stove isn’t even ten years old. So I had all of these need to be baked in the oven meals planned out for the week. And then the oven died. I am one stubborn lady. I didn’t want to waste the food I had bought. I didn’t want to order in pizza. I wanted to make the darn baked stuffed shells I had planned on, and so I did. I ended up coming up with a way to “bake” the shells on the stovetop and it worked. Here’s my recipe:
Second Day Stovetop Stuffed Shells
What you need:
* leftover Spaghetti Sauce (ie. ground beef or chicken with tomato sauce).
* 1 package jumbo pasta shells
* 1 container of ricotta or cottage cheese
* 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
* 1 package of frozen chopped spinach
* 1 jar of tomato sauce
* about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
* a large deep pan with a tight fitting lid
Step #1. Make a large or double batch of spaghetti sauce. For me, this meant browning 1 lb extra lean ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey/chicken mix and then adding a jar of tomato sauce. You could also add your vegetables of choice, like carrot, zucchini, mushrooms or celery. Boil some pasta and serve your noodles with the sauce. Be sure to reserve about half of the sauce. Once the leftover sauce has cooled, refrigerate it (alternatively you could freeze the sauce at this point and make the stuffed shells days or weeks later).
Step #2. The next day take your leftover sauce and turn it into stuffed shells. Boil water and cook a package of jumbo shells, following the package instructions. While the shells are cooking, place the leftover spaghetti sauce in a large bowl and add 1 container of ricotta cheese (cottage cheese will do in a pinch), 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and 1 package of thawed frozen chopped spinach. Mix well.
Step #3. Take the cooked pasta shells, strain and run them under cold tap water for about half a minute. Stuff the shells, placing roughly 1 tablespoon of the sauce mixture in each shell. As you stuff the shells, place them into a large deep pan that has a tight-fitting lid. I used my Nordic Ware Covered Braiser. You can squeeze the stuffed shells in close to each other, the majority of the package of shells should fit. I had about 6 shells left and since a few broke when boiling them, things worked out just perfectly.
Step #4. Once the stuffed shells are all in the pan pour a jar of tomato sauce over top, spreading it out to it covers most of the shells. Then finally, top generously with shredded mozzarella.
Step #5. Normally my stuffed shells would go in the oven at this point. For the stove top version, place your pan, with the lid on, on the burner and turn it up to medium-high. Leave it at that setting for about five minutes to heat the pan up, then turn the burner down to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and let it cook for another 5 minutes (this helps with the condensation that collects on top of the cheese). Remove from heat, let cool and serve.
These turned out good. The “baking” them on the stovetop thing worked just fine. We need to replace our oven, I can not imagine life without one. But I just may keep making these on the stovetop.
What about you guys? Got any tips for how to survive without an oven?
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