January 18, 2018

Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

sausage pumpkin shells

Whoo, that’s a long title!  And I’ll be honest – this does take a bit of time to prepare.  But if you have an extra hour on a Sunday night and want to make a delicious dinner with generous portions that you can eat the whole week through and not stop loving – try these Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel.

I was going to post my take on this recipe, since I made a few changes for my family, but I didn’t take careful note of my measurements. Food blogger fail!  So I’m just giving you the recipe I found at A Beautiful Bite.  I do want to note that I switched out cottage cheese for ricotta in this recipe, and it worked great.  Just buzz it in the food processor for a few seconds and it’s indistinguishable from the pricier ricotta.  Also, I ran out of sage and I had to garnish with parsley.  In any case, this recipe was a big hit, and it reheats well, so we’ll be seeing this again in our house.

 Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

(Recipe Courtesy of A Beautiful Bite)


  • 1 pound pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 32-ounce ricotta cheese (or use cottage cheese)
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used sage breakfast sausage)
  • 2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for topping (I skipped this)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Cook shells according to directions on box.  Drain and let cool.
  3. While shells are cooking, brown sausage in a large skillet.  Remove from skillet and place meat on a paper towel to drain.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat to cook the onions in.
  4. Cook onions in fat over medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for just a minute.  Add mushrooms and sage and cook for another four to five minutes.  Remove from heat and add cooked sausage.   Allow to cool for several minutes.
  5. Stuff shells with ricotta mixture, then top with sausage mixture.  Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish.  Set aside while you prepare béchamel sauce.
  6. In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for several minutes.  Add milk, pumpkin, yogurt, Parmesan, and ricotta.  Cook for a few minutes to thicken.  Add sage, salt and pepper.
  7. Pour béchamel over shells.  Top with extra grated Parmesan.  Bake at 350*F for forty minutes.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Shrimp, Pasta and Veggies

During the summer months, I like to have a few healthy but oh-so-yummy meals in the rotation that are quick to prepare, don’t heat up the kitchen (and the cook!), but are still delicious and satisfying.  You, too?  I find the easiest way to accomplish this is to keep the ingredients on hand for these few meals.

This recipe is a good example.  The frozen shrimp is a standard in our freezer (oh…the possibilities!).  Mushrooms and onions are always on hand, too…and any fresh green veggie (broccoli, for example) would work well, too.  Everything else is pretty much a pantry staple.  Be sure to generously season this dish as you go along…and taste just before serving to add more, if needed.  Enjoy!

Shrimp, Pasta and Veggies

2015-07-22 20.53.05



2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1# large raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
lemon pepper seasoning
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, then into half moons
2 tablespoons minced garlic, I use jarred
1-1/4 cups chicken broth (I subbed in white wine for 1/4 of broth)
8 ounces dry spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup packed basil, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried basil)
juice from 1/2 lemon


  • heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat
  • pat shrimp dry then season on both sides with lemon pepper seasoning
  • add to pan,  saute until pink on both sides and just barely cooked through, less than 2 minutes per side; set aside in a separate bowl
  • add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to pan along with mushrooms and onions.  saute ‘til mushrooms are golden brown, 7-8 minutes; then add zucchini and cook ‘til veggies are just turning tender
  • add garlic and season with additional lemon pepper seasoning; stir continually for about 1 minute ‘til garlic is aromatic
  • pour in chicken broth then turn heat up to high and boil ‘til broth has reduced by approximately 1/2
  • meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add spaghetti and cook according to package direction ’til just al dente (spaghetti will cook a bit more in the sauce). drain and set aside
  • once broth has reduced, turn heat to medium low; then add basil, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; stir to combine
  • add pasta and veggies to sauce;  toss to coat the pasta w/ sauce and distribute veggies
  • finally add shrimp and parmesan cheese; toss ‘til combined

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Asian Pasta Salad

Asian Pasta Salad

This is a recipe my sister used to make 20 years ago.  I think it came from a cookbook she had, which has since been lost in the shuffle of life.  I replicated as closely as I could when I had to bring a dish for a potluck at my daughter’s school.  This Asian Pasta Salad is great alternative to macaroni salad, especially in the summer, since there’s no mayonnaise to worry about.

Use any small pasta shape you like.  I usually like to use bow-ties, but I was out of them for this go around.  To save time, you can cook the chicken the night before you plan to eat this.  I think next time I make this, I will add pea pods and diced green onion.   Those weren’t in the original recipe, but I bet they’d add some sweet, crunchy interest!

Hoisin sauce is widely available, and if your grocery store has an Asian section, I’m sure you can find it – look for a little jar, next to the soy sauce.  You could substitute a jar of Plum Sauce if you can’t find Hoisin.  Hoisin sauce is great for any kind of stir fry you make at home, so I doubt it will go to waste.  The dressing for the Asian Pasta Salad is also tasty on a more traditional “Chinese chicken salad” with shredded cabbage, diced chicken, green onions, slivered almonds, and mandarin orange segments.

Asian Pasta Salad


  • 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound box of dried pasta, small shape preferred (macaroni, mini-shells, or bow-ties work well)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (try to get at least one red bell pepper), cut into very thin slices
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  1. Boil the pasta, following the directions on the box.   Don’t overcook!
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small container with a lid, shake together the Hoisin, vinegar, and oil.  When the pasta is done, drain and pour into a very large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well.
  3. Add the chicken, peppers, and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning, as you will probably need salt, and may prefer a little pepper.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again.  Chill for at least an hour, or until ready to serve.


Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!