Make Ahead Unstuffed Shells

This was a recipe that I adapted, but originally came from Kraft.  I'll post their recipe below, but will let you know what I did differently (my version was pretty easy, but both are great).  I recently bought a couple of pounds of Bison from Wag Jag and I've been dying to try it.  The health benefits seem endless, so I was pretty excited to replace our ground beef with this nutrition powerhouse.

If you're interested, check out this website for a more detailed comparison of Bison to other red meats.  Pretty cool stuff.

My take on the taste?  Amazing.  It honestly tastes just like ground beef, slightly sweeter.  It seems more dense, likely due to the lower fat contact (way less grease and fat to skim!) and it took a little longer to cook.  I love it, the family loves it, and it will be replacing ground beef in our home.

Make Ahead Unstuffed Shells

4 c pasta shells (I used penne, about half a box)

1 lb ground beef (I used 2lbs of ground Bison)

1 jar pasta sauce (I used a can of chopped seasoned tomatoes)

¾ c cream cheese (I used 95% fat free)

½ c milk

¼ c shredded parmesan

1/3 c chopped basil

1 ½ c grated mozzarella (I used light mozzarella)

Cook pasta as directed, omitting salt.  Brown meat in large skillet.  Stir in pasta sauce; simmer on medium heat 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Drain pasta.  Whisk next 3 ingredients in large bowl until blended.  Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.  Spread half the meat sauce on bottom of 13x9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce.  (All I did was pour the noodles into the baking pan, and spread the bison/tomato mixture on top).  Sprinkle with mozzarella, cover with foil.  Refrigerate up to 24 hours ( I didn't do this, I made it right away).  Heat oven to 375.  Bake casserole, covered, 40-45 minutes, or until heated through, uncovering after 30 minutes.

So good!