Stuffed Shells with Cherry Tomato Sauce

I woke up yesterday morning at 4 a.m. to get ready for work and I had the worst stomach ache.  Which is weird, because that hardly ever happens.  But I know I have to eat something because once I get to the shop I have to hit the ground running packing everything up.  I had a toasted English muffin with a schmear of peanut butter.  After a while my stomach settled down.  Weird!  It was a pretty sunrise when I got to the shop.

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I was doing a new market for me, so I was unsure of how it would go.  The previous record for this market was $1006, so that was my goal to beat that.  This one ran from 7 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

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And for the first hour and a half.  Ghost town!  We were situated right by the Metra station, but hardly anyone walked by.  A Frenchman who sold hummus and olives next to me told me that he keeps telling the market director that this market shouldn’t open before 9, but they won’t listen.  So I walked up and down the street with my breakfast burrito demo and took “vendor” orders for $5 each instead of $8 to get the ball rolling.  I walked back with 7 orders.

I hardly ever sell our mini cheesecakes, so I was determined to sell at least half that I had, and I did.  I did a demo of our mini mixed berry gluten free cheesecake it it was a hit.

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I did the bulk of our sales between 10:00 and 12:00 and ended up with a new sales record – $1126!  I am a tad bit competitive, no?! Smile with tongue out

After work, I headed to Hannah’s work to get lunch.   My stomach was feeling fine and I was really hungry.  She made me their “El Dorado” sandwich.  Grilled turkey panini with chipotle sauce, bacon and cheese.  I ate half and am calling it 10 points because it was on sourdough bread.  So good. 

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We were talking about what to make for dinner, when I remembered that I had ricotta cheese and baby spinach at home.  I am still participating in the Food Waste Challenge, which is going really well.  It does make you think to use up what you have vs. going to the store a few times a week.  Well, I did have to stop at the store for large pasta shells.  That’s one type of pasta I rarely keep stocked in the pantry, even though it’s one of Hannah’s favorites.  As I was walking through the store, I stopped in my tracks. 

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Halloween candy!  Not only is it out, but it’s also on sale, which is weird to me.  I love fall, and Halloween, but when the temps are 50 degrees and there are leaves on the ground.  Not when it’s close to 90 degrees outside.

My friend Alison grew a garden this year and has a bounty of tomatoes.  Like three large Trader Joe’s paper bags filled with tomatoes!  She and her family are on vacation this week, so she asked if I could use them.  Why yes I can.  Actually I am going to be making giant batches of my base pasta sauce and then can it for them to use later on.  They should at least get a benefit from their hard work of tending to a garden!

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Aren’t these gorgeous?!  Normally I would have cheated and bought sauce to make it easy on myself after a long day at the market, but after I took an hour nap I caught my second wind.  This cherry tomato sauce is so easy, it really could be made on a weeknight.

Stuffed Shells with Cherry Tomato Sauce
Serves 4
A great way to use up a bounty of tomatoes!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
1210 calories
221 g
22 g
15 g
43 g
5 g
523 g
310 g
14 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1210
Calories from Fat 133
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 5g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 310mg
Total Carbohydrates 221g
Dietary Fiber 11g
Sugars 14g
Protein 43g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  7. pinch of salt and pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  9. 20 cooked pasta shells
  10. 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  11. 2 cups baby spinach
  12. 1 teaspoon garlic
  13. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  14. 20 slices turkey pepperoni
  15. salt and pepper to taste
  16. 2 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese
  1. In a pan, heat olive oil and once the pan is hot, add the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add in the cherry tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat the cherries in the oil and garlic.  Add the water, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper and turn the heat to medium low, put a lid on the pot, and cook for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the ricotta cheese, baby spinach, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and pulse until combined.  Using a teaspoon, fill each shell with a heaping teaspoon of filling, finishing off with a slice of turkey pepperoni.  Your sauce should be ready by now.  Rinse out the food processor, add the tomato sauce and pulse until it’s pureed.   Return to the pot, stir in the heavy cream and taste to see if it needs more salt.
  2. Pour half of the sauce mixture into a casserole dish.  Place the shells in the sauce.  Top with the mozzarella cheese, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.   Hannah isn’t a big fan of red sauce, so I served the extra tomato sauce at the table for Jacob and myself.
My Bizzy Kitchen
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I made this with five shells as a serving, but after plating, I realized 4 would be plenty and it was.  Each plate with the 5 shells comes in at 11 smart points.  I had 15 points going into dinner, so it’s all good.


When I was at the market trying to drum up breakfast business with the other vendors, I came across Standard Market, and they had the most amazing bread display.  I didn’t have my phone with me, but if I work this market again, I am definitely going to take one.  When Hannah was little I used to make her rainbow bread for her sandwiches.  I would make four different loaves of bread, all a different color, then use 1/4 of each colored dough to make my loaf and bake it.  I haven’t thought about rainbow bread in years.  So imagine my surprise when I saw rainbow bagels!  They sold me a 4-pack for $4 (vendor price!) and I surprised Hannah with them.

This morning she is working at the coffee shop.  I woke up at 7:30 this morning to a text of her breakfast – she made a bagel sammie with the rainbow bagel.

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The dogs ended up sleeping with me last night.  They do hog the bed, but I don’t mind.  In the morning, Roman is extra snuggly as he wakes up.  So cute!

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I have WW this morning.  I didn’t go last week, and not sure what the scale will say.  I always do a sneak peak weigh in at home on WI day, but I stepped on it right out of bed, and the battery is dead and I don’t have any replacements.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Since I worked yesterday I have today and tomorrow off this week.  I have lots of pasta sauce to make and canning to do – among the usually laundry list of things to do.  Make it a great day!

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