Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spinach, Cheese & Pesto Stuffed Shells

 While at the store getting Sriracha sauce for the best salmon ever, I bought some of those super-sized shells on a whim. I had a good amount of cheese leftover from the five-cheese pizza I made the other night, not to mention spinach and pesto from making stuffed pork tenderloin and mexican flatbread pizza. Long story short, I figured I could make up something with these shells.

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
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*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!


  1. these look yummy, and I really like how you added the pictures this time! I need to learn how to do this!

    1. Thanks! I did it in Picasa! If you look at my post "new blog look" it tells you how to make a collage in it and export the collage. It's so easy! If you look at it and have questions let me know. :)


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