Cheesy stuffed shells in a red sauce masquerade as monster eyeballs for a creepy but delicious Halloween inspired dinner, it’s great for potlucks too.

I finally got around to making these, I’ve been noodling (HA!) the idea around for a while now and finally time, ingredients and will collided in my kitchen. They look high maintenance but no they’re easy to make.  Just put your kids to work if you need an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, it’s not hard work though, mostly pleasant stuff like browning sausage and stuffing cheese in shells. The 11 year old was completely capable of browning the sliced Hillshire Farms smoked sausage and the 9 year old would have helped but there was emergency Lincoln Log construction project he needed to attend to. I like to get them alone in the kitchen anyway, it lets one of them download their day and we have some great one on one time together. Although all three of us work well in the kitchen together too, it’s nice to just have one to talk with and concentrate on.

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Creepy Monster Eyes
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Instructions
  1. cook the pasta according to the directions on the box
  2. meanwhile slice the sausage into about 32 pieces, one for each 'eyeball'
  3. lightly brown the sausage over medium heat in a frying pan
  4. once they're lightly brown, remove them from the pan and drain on a paper towel
  5. carefully wipe the oil out of the frying pan and pour the pasta sauce in, warm the sauce over medium/low heat while the pasta cooks
  6. once the pasta is done drain it and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process
  7. toss with a little oil to keep from sticking and set aside
  8. in a mixing bowl combine the ricotta/cottage cheese, eggs, basil, garlic, mozzarella and a 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese
  9. spread the pasta sauce evenly between your baking pans, reserving a little to drizzle in and around the eyeballs
  10. assemble the eyeballs
  11. divide the cheese mixture as evenly as possible between 32 shells
  12. poke a slice of sausage flat down on the 'white' of the 'eye' in each shell
  13. slice the olives in half and if desired trim off the X end of the olive so the red will show through
  14. top each sausage slice with an olive half
  15. drizzle any remaining sauce around the eyeballs as needed or desired
  16. cover the pans with foil and bake 25 minutes at 375˚
  17. remove the foil, sprinkle with evenly with the 2 TBSP Parmesan cheese and bake for 5 more minutes
Recipe Notes

makes approximately 32 eyeballs in two 9x9 baking dishes-or one 9x13 and a pie plate-use what you have

this pan is a little bigger than 9×13–again use what you have, even multiple baking pans in different sizes

The box of pasta once cooked usually yields about 32 unbroken shells, I always toss the last of the broken cooked shells in a little casserole dish with any leftover cheese and a dab of sauce to top them off and make my husband a little cheesy dish for lunch the next day.

My 9 year old son, made a face on his plate, we encourage playing with your food apparently and we reward it with photos. Grade A parenting, folks, right here, right now.

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