Mmm, stuffed shells. Ooey, gooey, cheesy little packages of lasagna. (Because that is pretty much what they are.) Healthy? You better believe it! This particular recipe is at least. You can have your cheese and comfort food fix is one while still getting your veggies. And don't balk at this if you think you don't like spinach or mushrooms! These beauties will change your mind. The spinach is balanced perfectly with the ricotta adding a hint of green sweetness and the mushrooms give a slightly meaty, earthy flavor. I can even get my husband to eat mushrooms this way. That is saying a lot considering we have literally had arguments in the grocery store when he saw me putting mushrooms in the cart. Also, adding spinach to a dish with pasta, cheese and red sauce is a great way to trick your kids into eating their green vegetables.
In addition to being really tasty, stuffed shells are a great way to feed a crowd on a budget. You can make a double batch in about the same time as a single batch and it will only cost a few dollars more. These shells, a big salad, and some good bread would make any group of hungry people happy!
Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells
7-8 oz jumbo shells (24 shells)
1 (24 oz) jar favorite pasta sauce
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 medium onion (~1 C diced onion)
8 oz mushrooms roughly chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 C part skim ricotta cheese
1 C shredded mozzarella, divided
1/3 C shredded parmesan, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook about 5-7 minutes. The liquid from the mushrooms should be almost completely evaporated. Add garlic saute 1 minute. Cool.
Squeeze water out of spinach. Mix with ricotta, 1/2 C mozzarella, 1/4 C parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir in mushroom and onions. Add beaten egg and mix thoroughly.
Spread a little bit (about 1/2 C) of sauce into the bottom of a lightly sprayed 10x10 (9x11 or 11x11 also work) backing pan. Fill shells with about 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling. Place in pan. Top shells with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
(At this point you can cover and keep in the fridge for a few days. Yay make ahead! For cooking add 10 minutes to covered bake time.)
Bake at 350 deg F covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Serves 6 (4 per serving.)
Per Serving: Calories 345, Fat 11.5g, Total Carb 42g, Fiber 3g, Protein 20g
Daily Values: Vit A 52%, Vit C 11%, Calcium 37.5%, Iron 21%, Thiamine 20%, Riboflavin 8%, Niacin 8%, Folate 17.5%
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