Spinach, Mushroom & Pepper Stuffed Shells Recipe

I love these "holiday" stuffed shells...  

They are festive looking, they feed a crowd, you can make them ahead, they freeze well and everyone loves them!  They're filled with lots of spinach, mushrooms and roasted red peppers…as well as three yummy cheeses!  Healthy veggies with just enough ooey gooey cheese - naughty & nice! 

Spinach, Mushroom & Pepper Stuffed Shells How-To:

Spinach, Mushroom & Pepper Stuffed Shells Recipe

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Makes about 44 stuffed shells - about 8-10 servings                                                                                                     (You can split the recipe between two dishes and freeze one for later.)


1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

8-ounces sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

We've been enjoying this locally made sauce.

We've been enjoying this locally made sauce.

1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained & chopped

2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry

1 (30-ounce) container ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg

2 cups mozzarella, shredded & divided

2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce (or homemade)

1 (12-ounce) box jumbo shells pasta

salt & water for boiling pasta


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 6 quarts of salted (approx. 3-4 tablespoons kosher salt) water to boiling.

Add oil to large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until softened.  Add peppers, spinach and stir until well combined.  Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit.

Cook your pasta for about 9 minutes (a little less than the box states).  They will cook more in the oven.  Drain your pasta and pour onto a greased rimmed baking sheet.  This will allow them to cool a bit and not stick together.   

In large bowl (also mixes well in stand mixer) combine ricotta, Parmesan, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella.  Stir to mix.  Stir in the spinach mixture.

Pour about 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce in bottom of 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish and spread evenly.

Fill each shell with about 2-3 tablespoons filling.  Arrange them in pan.  (I like to fit them in a single layer of about 34 shells, then, make a separate little dish of them to freeze or bake separately.)

Spoon another 1 1/2 cups sauce over filled shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Cover dish with foil.  Bake covered for about 40-45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with extra warmed marinara sauce on the side.


To Freeze: assemble, wrap well and freeze.  I like to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before I bake them. 

Printable Recipe Link: Spinach, Mushroom & Pepper Stuffed Shells

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  Happy Holidays to you and yours!  Tina ( :

Peppermint Bark Pretzels Recipe

Naughty and Nice Recipes...

    Holiday time is here and so are the cookies, the candy, the casseroles and all those delectable dips and party foods!  I would be lying if I said all my holiday eats were perfectly balanced.  I’m already dreaming about the bacon wrapped cracker nibbles and ham biscuits my friend Gail makes (recipes are on epicuricloud.com).  My friend Annie has already dropped off some of her amazing Russian tea cake cookies.  I squirreled them away, hidden from the rest of the family (Shh, don’t tell!)  But I do try to maintain some sort of balance between all the parties.
    One of my latest recipes is a good bit naughty and a little bit nice.  They are Peppermint Bark Pretzels!  The pretzel makes it a little less naughty – right?
I figure it just has to be healthier than a chocolate covered piece of cheesecake… 
    Well healthy or not, the mild peppermint flavor and crushed candy canes really spruce up the basic chocolate dipped pretzel.  They are quick and easy to assemble and they make a really nice homemade gift! 

(From my Balanced Eats column in Main Line Media News)

Peppermint Bark Pretzels How-To:


Peppermint Bark Pretzels Recipe:

Christina Verrelli – epicuricloud.com
Makes about 28 dipped pretzel rods

28 pretzel rods
10 candy canes, crushed
12-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons solid shortening, divided
12-ounces white chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (for mild flavor)

Line two large baking sheets with wax paper or parchment.  In medium microwave safe bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening by microwaving for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until melted.
Dip and spoon melted chocolate onto pretzel rod, leaving about 1-inch at the top undipped.  Use the back of the spoon to swirl off excess chocolate.  Place on lined baking sheets and chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.

In medium microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening by microwaving for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract.  Spoon the melted chocolate mixture into a piping bag or zip top bag.  Snip a small hole in the corner of the zip bag and drizzle the white chocolate over the pretzels.  Sprinkle them with the crushed candy canes.  When set, store in an airtight container.

Note:  To crush the candy canes, you can break them up into 1-inch pieces and pulse them in the food processor or just place them in a zip top bag and whack them around.

Printable Recipe Link: Peppermint Bark Pretzels

Perfect for Pinning ⬇

Peppermint Bark Pretzel Collage.jpg

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

Happy Holidays!!  Tina  ( :

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

If you were to cross a pumpkin pie with a light fluffy cloud…

this is what you'd get!  It's a super easy no-bake dessert that looks great layered in a large glass bowl or spooned into little mason jars.  I love the creamy, fluffy texture that is layered with crunchy gingersnap cookies.  And…well...salted caramel whipped cream just happens to be one of my favorite things. ( :    

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream:

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream Recipe

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud

Makes 10-12 servings


8 ounces gingersnaps (spiced wafers) crumbled
3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup caramel syrup
¼ + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (7 ½ -ounce) jar marshmallow cream


  • Crush gingersnap cookies.
  • Whip heavy cream to almost soft peaks.  
  • Add caramel syrup and salt and continue to whip until stiff peaks.  
  • Mix together pumpkin, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Fold in half the marshmallow cream.  Fold in about 1½ cups whipped cream.  Fold in the rest of the marshmallow cream.  Fold in another 1½ cups whipped cream.
  • Layer pumpkin mousse, cookies, pumpkin mousse and more cookies.  
  • Top with whipped cream and garnish with a drizzle of caramel sauce and cookie crumbs.

Note:  You can make a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate.  The cookies will get softer the longer it sits.  To keep the cookies crunchy, you can make all the components and then assemble closer to serving time.

Printable Recipe: Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :