Every night at Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, volunteers take a little time out of their day to prepare dinner for the families staying at the House. At the end of a stressful day at the hospital hearing the words, 'dinner is served' and smelling the aromas of a home-cooked meal can ease minds and heal spirits.

Here, we'd like to share with you some of the Recipes from the Heart that RMHC volunteers have prepared for families staying at Ronald McDonald Houses around the world. We will update this page on a regular basis, so make sure to check back!

Stuffed Shells

Recently, @RMHC prepared one of her favorite family meals at the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn. After lots of mixing, sauteeing, simmering, and stuffing, 16 families enjoyed 96 stuffed shells.

Note: This recipe was tripled to serve the families at the Ronald McDonald House. The recipe below will serve 8-10 people.


1 box jumbo pasta shells

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 cups marinara sauce (you can make your own, or use your favorite store-bought brand)

2 (5-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta cheese

1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan

4 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese


Lightly butter a 12 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish and set aside. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside as well.

Partially cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water until slightly tender but still firm to the bite - about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, drain the pasta shells and place them on the oiled baking sheet, spreading them out so they don't stick together and allow to cool. 

In a heavy medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring often.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil, parsley, mint, spinach, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixtures (about 2 tablespoons per shell.) Arrange the shells in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, then sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake in the lower third of your oven until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Serve with a garden salad, garlic bread and maybe some chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Enjoy!