I did a little browsing of stuffed shells recipes, but I didn't find any that reached out to me. You all know I love my cheese, but I felt like every recipe had way too much of it. One of the things I love to do is to lighten up recipes that everyone knows and loves. Now, to be honest I don't know if I had eaten stuffed shells prior to this, but I had an idea of what would - or could - go into them.
I opted for adding some pesto to substitute all the extra cheese. The flavors meshed really well, especially when it was baked with my homemade ground turkey meat sauce. I promise you can not tell that it is missing ground beef! This was a really nice and tasty dish. We gobbled it up, and have leftovers for easy lunches and dinners the rest of the week. I love when that happens!
And in case you don't trust my opinion, I surprised another teacher at school with this for lunch (Happy Belated Birthday, Susan!). She said she loved it, and when I told her that it was all low or non-fat, plus was ground turkey instead of ground beef she was shocked! She said she had no idea she was eating the low-fat version. Happy dance! :)
Spinach, Cheese & Pesto Stuffed Shells
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Yields 22 shells; serves 4-5, depending on portions
*box of jumbo shells
*1/2 cup pesto
*3/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
*3/4 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
*1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
*2 cups spinach, finely chopped
*3 cups marinara or meat sauce (I used my homemade ground turkey marinara meat sauce!)
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare large pot of boiling water. Cook shells until al dente. (I suggest adding a tablespoon of olive oil to water to keep shells from sticking together.) Drain and set aside.
*Combine ricotta, spinach and pesto in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Fold in mozzarella and Parmesan.
*Pour 1 cup meat sauce in a baking dish (mine was 9x13).
*When shells are cool enough to handle, stuff each shell with about 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture.
*Place shells into baking dish, on top of meat sauce. When all shells are in the dish, pour 2 cups sauce over the top.
*Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve hot!
|Pesto thawing | Spinach | First mixture | Plus extra cheese|
|Sauce layer 1 | Shells on top of sauce | Sauce on top of shells|
|Dinner is served!|
|A little look at the inside...yum!|
|Enjoying one shell with broccoli and hard-boiled eggs for lunch the next day!|