smoked gouda butternut squash bacon stuffed shells

Things have been prettttttty sloooow around here. Sorry about that, the holidays are always crazy and we’re not organized enough to plan and write posts months ahead of time. We’ll get there. Really. One of many New Year’s resolutions is to post a bit more regularly, so hopefully we’ll make good on that. 

I wasn’t planning on doing a recipe post … I was hoping to start 2017 with a brilliant and innovative DIY project, but this dinner turned out so well that I just had to write it up, before I forgot about it. 

This recipe was inspired by leftovers. After hosting several holiday gatherings, we were absolutely drowning in leftover cheese. Since I hate waste, I was brainstorming ways to use it up, ideally in the form of make-ahead freezer meals so that we wouldn’t have to eat 20 pounds of cheese all at once. With the butternut squash and spinach, this recipe is hearty, relatively healthy and super easy to pull out of the freezer and warm up on a cold winter’s night!

Smoked Gouda, Butternut Squash, Spinach & Bacon Stuffed Shells



3/4 cup smoked gouda cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups of cubed butternut squash
2 cups of chopped fresh spinach
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
6 slices of bacon
16 jumbo pasta shells


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the bacon and reserve about 1 tbsp of the bacon grease. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Toss the cubed butternut squash in the bacon drippings and add a bit of the salt and pepper.

butternut squash bacon spinach shells

Roast on baking pan for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

 Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain. 

Once the squash has cooled, mash the butternut squash gently with a fork. Add the cheeses, ricotta, egg, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper and mix until incorporated.

butternut squash bacon spinach shells

Stir in the spinach and crumbled bacon. 

butternut squash bacon spinach shells

Stuff the shells with the squash filling and place into a greased 9×12 dish.

butternut squash bacon spinach shells

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

butternut squash smoked gouda bacon stuffed shells

Serve warm.  Enjoy!

smoked gouda butternut squash bacon stuffed shells