“Shells”- A Family Recipe

This was one of my favorite recipes as a child.  The ingredients are very simple and inexpensive, especially if found on sale.  I always have these ingredients in my pantry so I can make it when I don’t have a lot of time.


1 box of whole wheat  “medium” shells (improves nutritional value but you can use regular pasta as well)

2 cans diced tomatoes including liquid

1 green bell pepper chopped (I try to stock up on these when they are $.69 or lower, chop them and put them in baggies to be stored in the freezer)

1/2 lb of lean ground beef (I’ve substituted ground turkey and don’t think it changes the flavor.  I used to use 1 lb of meat but am trying to lower our meat consumption.  There’s just enough to add flavor and to appease the “meat lovers”)

Chop the green pepper, discarding seeds.  Place green pepper in pan, at medium heat (sometimes I even do this in a big pot to reduce splatter).  Allow five minutes to begin softening, stirring occasionally.  Add ground beef or turkey and stir occasionally until no longer pink.  Add two cans of diced tomatoes and bring two a boil.  Once at a boil, turn down the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about twenty minutes or until the green peppers are at your preferred softness.  I like the green peppers to still be a bit firm but either way, simmering allow the green pepper flavor to mingle with the tomato.

Meanwhile cook shells according to directions on the box.  Drain.  When tomato, meat, and pepper mixture has simmered to your liking, combine it with shells in the big pot or pour over the shells on the plates.

It is an uncomplicated meal that I think is a good balance of whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables.  And it is simple to prepare.  A win, win!



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