Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving: Leftover Spinach Recipe

Spinach Shells by Laura Bray
I cooked a lot of food for Thanksgiving and have a fridge full of leftovers.  We ate mini-Thanksgiving meals for a few days, but got bored quickly and I'm now trying to get creative with the remains of the day.  I made some delicious turkey soup, which was perfect because my entire family now has terrible colds.  I also made some pumpkin bread to go with it using leftover canned pumpkin.

But here's my favorite recipe so far.  I created it in order to use up the last of the spinach gratin.  The spinach in it's original form was The Barefoot Contessa's Spinach Gratin recipe, but I think any creamy, cheesy spinach cassarole leftovers would do.  Here's my recipe:

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 box large shell pasta
Leftover spinach casserole
Mozzeralla cheese

Directions:
To make the sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan.  Add garlic and saute until soft.  Don't brown it.  Just stir it around until you can smell the garlic. 
  2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir and bring back to a boil.  Lower heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Your sauce is done.  It's a great recipe for just general pasta sauce.  I never buy the jarred stuff anymore as this is so easy and so good.

While your sauce is simmering, cook your pasta shells according to the directions on the box.  Drain, and allow to cool. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Tasty Shells using Leftover Spinach
 To assemble:
  1. Pour half the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.  Stuff pasta shells with spinach and lay on top of the sauce. 
  2. Cut mozerrella into small cubes and tuck one cube into the spinach of each shell.  (Note:  My leftover spinach didn't fill all the shells, so I made a few with just mozerella.)
  3. Once the pan is filled with shells, pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with shredded mozarella cheese.
  4. Bake in a over at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned.
It's really good!  And so not your typical Thanksgiving leftover recipe.  I like so much that I'm thinking about making the spinach gratin for Christmas dinner, just so I can use the leftovers again!  How have you been repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers this week?  Next on our list is waffles made from our Maple Sweet Potato Casserole.  Yum!