Recipe: Pumpkin & Pesto Stuffed Shells


This month marks the end of summer produce, but there's lots of other delicious items available to us now in September like apples, pears, plums, grapes, figs, as well as pumpkin, squashes, kale and leeks. I love me some grilling and summer recipes, however I start to feel a bit burnt out by this time of year and craving some more comfort food. Eating more of what is in season can be a great way to have fun with recipes and cooking, and feel a bit more inspired with meal preparation. And nope sorry diet culture, you don’t get to own “meal prepping”, see a linked blog post here to read my take on this a bit more.

I wanted to share one of my favorite fall recipes from a lovely female foodie blogger, Half Baked Harvest, and let you in on a little secret for how I make her simple recipe even easier. This recipe for spicy pumpkin and pesto cheese stuffed shells is AMAZING! It is so flavorful and just comfort food at it’s best. Serve it with a side salad and a piece of hunky bread and you are set, I promise. If you like stuffed shells normally, this elevates the flavors in a way you have probably never even thought to pair. The best part? I found a sauce available at Aldi and Trader Joe’s last year in the fall that I used in place of making the pumpkin sauce, making the most difficult preparation steps of this recipe chopping the pepper and shredding the cheese (or you could even buy fresh or frozen chopped peppers and shredded cheese)! Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s look for the creamy Autumnal Harvest sauce (which I have already spotted and purchased this year for this recipe). As for Aldi, I haven’t quite seen the sauce I bought last year on shelves yet, but according to my research I believe it was a Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce, so if you see it, snag it!

If you would prefer to make the pumpkin sauce on your own and follow the recipe as is, that is perfectly fine. The point of this post is 1. Talk about thinking and cooking more seasonally to help inspire you, 2. Share a really tasty recipe, and 3. Normalize using pre-made ingredients/products to make cooking even easier if that is what you and your household require to get a meal on the table. Using things like pre-shredded cheese, frozen veggies, and canned sauces is totally OK! If I haven’t sold you yet, let me leave you with a photo of these shells and then try to tell me you don’t want them. Until next time :)

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