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Mommy Brain & Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I’m sure you’ve all heard of pregnancy brain before… right?

I swear when I was pregnant I forgot EVERYTHING! Someone would tell me something and I would forget it 5 minutes later.

When I was pregnant, I would wear my flip flops on my way to work and change into my fancy heels when I got to work. Well one morning I forgot to bring my heels and mindlessly walked in to work with dress slacks, a cardigan, and flip flops… classy… I know. Needless to say I learned my lesson and always kept a pair of heels in my car to make up for my pregnancy brain.

After I had my daughter I was really looking forward to getting my head back in order… and think straight again. Well my friends… I’m here to tell you that pregnancy brain is replaced by mommy brain.

Yesterday morning I packed my daughter’s bag, took her to daycare, then drove to work. I felt like something was a little off. Well… shortly after I got to work I remembered my daughter’s lunch bag was sitting on our kitchen counter! How could I do that?! How could I forget to send my 9 1/2 month old to daycare without lunch?!?!!!!

Luckily I have a very understanding boss who is a mom herself. She chuckled when I told her what I did. So I left work, picked up my babies lunch, and took it to daycare. Lesson learned! Now I have a mini-checklist right by my keys so I make sure not to forget anything… let’s hope it works πŸ™‚

Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!

Over the weekend I made a batch of homemade pasta sauce minus the meat.

I like making big batches of things, especially sauces, and freezing them.

Now that I know how to make my own marinara sauce from scratch, I can’t imagine buying Ragu’ again.


I’ve mentioned before that I LOVE meals that have all the food groups in one meal. These stuffed shells are perfect for that!

These shells contain lean Italian turkey sausage, ricotta, and spinach. I know they make whole wheat jumbo pasta shells, but I couldn’t them in my grocery store, so I went with the regular shells.



This dish was so good! And it contained my husbands favorite ingredient… MEAT πŸ™‚ This dish makes plenty of food so it’s good for lots of leftovers for a quick and easy meal.


  • About 3 cups of homemade sauce – minus the meat
  • One box of whole wheat pasta shells, whole wheat if you can find them
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese
  • 3 links lean Italian turkey sausage (remove casein)
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • about 10 grinds of fresh cracked pepper
  • One 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 egg yolk
  • part-skim mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove turkey sausage from casein and cook in saucepan until cooked through.

Cook pasta shells according to box directions.

Combine turkey sausage, ricotta, parmesan, onion salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, spinach, and egg yolk.

In a 13×9 baking dish, spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of dish.

Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling.

Pour remaining sauce on top of shells.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and bake for additional 10 minutes or until cheese in bubbly.



Question of the Day?

Have you every had a “mommy brain” moment… even if you’re not a mom πŸ˜‰

22 Responses

  1. carolyn said on March 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

    this is almost the exact stuffed shells recipe i grew up on. such a good one! i’ve never thought to look for the large whole wheat shells!

  2. Retta @ RunRettaRun said on March 4, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I totally understand the mommy brain syndrome. After two kids, it’s totally gotten worse for me. It’s pretty sad lol. I also love it when I drop them off at daycare and realize I have baby poo on my shirt and I don’t even care. Haha!

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet said on March 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

    OHmigosh…LOL! Marin knows you are the best mommy ever, tho. πŸ™‚ I can’t imagine what it will be like…

    I love stuffed shells! My hubby does not since he hates ricotta. Maybe I should make them to get rid of the mustache??

  4. Heather (Heather's Dish) said on March 4, 2010 at 11:42 am

    this is a must try…i’m needing some inspiration for good vegetarian dishes and i think i might’ve found it πŸ™‚ except i don’t know if i can stop after a regular serving πŸ™‚

  5. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said on March 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I love stuffed shells! I usually mix soft tofu with the ricotta.

  6. Beth @ DiningAndDishing said on March 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    haha, i have mommy brain moments all the time!! i can only imagine how much worse it will be when im actually a mom πŸ™‚

  7. Ameena said on March 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I can so relate to mommy brain…I forget things all the time. Now as soon as I make Maya’s lunch I put it by the door so that I will literally trip over it if I try to leave without picking it up!

  8. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on March 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Oh goodness. I think I get wife brain. I make my husband’s lunch. He works out of his car, so there’s nothing to keep his meal cold except for an ice pack. Which I’ve forgotten. Oh, and I’ve sent him off with yogurt and no spoon. We all have brainless days I guess.

  9. katie said on March 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    haha oh im sure i will have a mommy brain when i have kids!

  10. Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) said on March 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Yum! I know this would be a crowd-pleaser in my house too! I have to make this!

  11. Joanna said on March 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    For the past 4 years, I’ve recited the following list to myself every time I have to leave the house with a kid(s):
    -diapers/wipes/outfit (extra)
    -something to eat/drink
    -something to sleep/play
    It’s funny how their needs can be simplified like that but it does cover just about every necessity when we are out and about!

  12. Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said on March 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    My latest mommy moment (even though I am not a mom): Driving to the gym to do Body Pump only to realize that I left my gym bag (with my clothes) at home on the counter. Can’t do body pump in a jean skirt! Haha!

  13. Mo@MommyRD said on March 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    My girlfriend and I were just talking about “momnesia” the other day! I totally forgot to bring stuff that was important on our trip last week (ie medications, lotions, etc.) Then, when returning home, I left my favorite Lululemon and Nike workout tops in the condo we rented. Gah! Some days I think I’m losing it!

  14. Joe @ Eden Kitchen said on March 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Wow, these looks seriously delish! I don’t eat meat so I will try substituting beans. Thanks for sharing!

  15. luvtoeat said on March 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    That was so nice of your boss! I totally know too well what mommy brain is like. Which reminds me, I need to add a tip to my “mommy thoughts” page before I forget – teehee (thanks) πŸ˜‰
    Your recipe sounds great, as usual.

  16. Nicole @ Making Good Choices said on March 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Ah I already have a forgetful mind, so I am not looking forward to it getting any worse! I also make my own sauce – I love how you stuffed sausage into the shells – what a fabulous idea! I could also see stuffing it with beans too!

  17. lynn @ the actors diet said on March 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    those shells those shells! i don’t think i’ve had stuffed shells…since high school? and then it was made in the cafeteria? and i liked them even then? so that means i would LOVE yours. b/c i’m sure they’re 200x better

  18. Danielle (Coffee Run) said on March 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    I can’t relate to pregnancy brain (thank god!) but I’ve seen my mom get the same thing πŸ™‚

    The shells look delicious!

  19. Stef said on March 5, 2010 at 12:49 am

    my cousin refers to the mommy brain all the time, it’s funny. YUM stuffed shells are something i’ve never had but have always been curious about. i’m sure i’d love them bc i love all the components

  20. Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) said on March 5, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I have mommy-moments all the time…I call them blonde moments (and I’m a brunette! hee hee!)

    I tossed on a sports bra earlier this week and then a sweatshirt…totally forgot my tank top which was not cool when I got to the gym!

  21. Maria (realfitmama) said on March 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I have “mommy brain” about once a day and sometimes more!! Once, after a long battle with my 2 year old to put on her shoes and realizing I was running late, grabbed the shoes, picked up the daughter, set the shoes down by my bag, grabbed my keys, grabbed my bag and ran to the car. I got her all the way to school (while she was screaming “I need shoes”) walked into her classroom, set her down, reached into my bag to get her shoes and realized at that second they were still sitting on the floor next to where my bag had been. “Mommy Brain” happens to the best of us…

  22. Nicole, RD said on March 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Your boss sounds great! I do silly things like that all the time and my husband calls me out every single time! Unfortunately, he does not find my blonde moments endearing : )

    The shells look wonderful! I’ve been craving spinach + noodles lately – mmm mmm!