Stuffed Shells and Homemade Soft Rolls

Knowing hubby is leaving soon, I’ve been trying to make some of his favorite meals, lately. Tonight his request was Stuffed Shells. I normally make my stuffed shells and put them in the crockpot with lots of sauce and the cheese on the inside, but I was in a hurry and made them in the oven today. They turned out pretty good. I just make italian-spiced hamburger meat and mix it with ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese and Hunt’s spaghetti sauce and stuff that into the pre-cooked shells, then top with more sauce, more mozzarella cheese, and bake/put in crockpot for the whole day. The crockpot yields softer shells than the oven which is why it is my preferred method, but this works in a pinch. Anyway, here’s a photo of the shells:

And a few pics of the rolls:


My family has really taken to these fluffy and soft rolls since I started baking them in my cast-iron skillets. I made a double batch this time and made them as usual, letting them rise and bake in the cast-iron skillets, then brushing melted butter over the top when they are fresh out of the oven. They are sooooooo yummy like this, and I love the sizzle they make when the butter hits the sides of the pan. I had never considered baking them in my skillets until one poster commented that they thought I had done this on Thanksgiving because I had set my baked rolls in the skillet to keep them warm on the table, and since then I started doing them this way, and have been getting nothing but rave reviews from both hubby and stepdaughter ever since. If you have a cast-iron skillet, try this, you won’t regret it!

Published in: on January 3, 2008 at 9:46 pm  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Post your recipe. Also how do you make them look like that? You stick dough balls in and they just clump together? They look like the pull apart rolls at Home Town Buffet. Cute.

    I read somewhere a few weeks ago a lady said she used her cast iron skillet to make bread and it was awesome and I was going to try but forgot.

  2. Here’s the recipe:
    These make the absolute best dinner rolls! The best! This was derived from Garlic Cheese Rolls by Bread Machine Magic, recipe below (also delicious!).
    1 cup warm water (105º)
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 tsp. salt
    1-1/2 tbsp. butter
    3 tbsp. sugar
    2 tbsp. nonfat dry milk
    1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1. To make in a bread machine, place first seven ingredients in bread pan. Select dough setting. When dough has risen, go to step 3.
    2. To make by hand, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in butter, sugar, dry milk, salt and flour. Knead dough until elastic and smooth, several minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover tightly. Let rise in a warm, draft free place for one hour, or until double in bulk.
    3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into a 24-inch rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 18 pieces (recipe says 24 pieces, but I usually get 18 out of it). Shape pieces into balls; place in two greased 8-inch round pans.
    4. Melt butter in a small bowl. Brush generously over rolls. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until double in bulk.
    5. Heat oven to 375º. Bake rolls for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 18 rolls.
    *Useful Tip: To make Garlic Cheese Rolls, simply add one clove of crushed garlic to the melted butter before brushing over rolls, and then sprinkle on 2 tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese. Proceed with recipe as listed.

    And yes, I stick the round dough balls in the pan, let them rise (sometimes a little extra time to make sure they begin touching before they go in the oven) and bake them. They are pull-apart soft yeast rolls this way.

  3. Thanx so much!

  4. I’m coming to your house to eat! Your rolls look awesome! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. I was wondering i love lasagna and stuffed shells but i haven’t made them since being married bacause my husband hates ricotta i think it’s the dryness or texture, but do you know of any alternatives i could use for cheeses? thanks-Nicole

  6. Nicole, If you look at my recipe for lasagna, I like to use 1 carton sour cream mixed with one small carton of feta cheese. It is a great substitute, b/c I’m not a big fan of ricotta, either. Since I discovered this little secret, I don’t think I’ve bought ricotta since. It’s a much nicer texture.
    Or the old standby in a pinch is to use cottage cheese. Different texture, same flavor.

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