Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Skinny Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

stuffed shells

With the holiday season just around the bend, it's time to kick those healthy habits into high gear! It takes lot of work for me to focus on eating healthy and exercising as the weather turns colder and the opportunities for eating junk pile up.

stuffed shellsstuffed shells - meat sauce

This weekend, we took advantage of a gorgeous sunny day and went hiking on Bear Island in Potomac, MD.  We ended up doing the most challenging path, Billy Goat Trail A, which surprised us both in length and challenges!  It wasn't so much climbing uphill but tricky footing and small ledges that kept us on our toes!

stuffed shellsstuffed shells

Of course one of the best places to start a healthy kick is in the kitchen, so we've been trying to make healthy meals when we cook at home.  I loved this recipe because it is a classic comfort food but healthified.  Even though it's been reduced in the calorie and fat departments, it's still loaded with meat and cheese so it remains a filling dinner.

stuffed shells, pre-bakingstuffed shells

We really enjoyed this recipe.  I ended up eating it for lunch and dinner a few days in the row.  I enjoyed getting my cheesy kick without the guilt of the full fat version.  Even the Monkey Scientist was able to fill up on this for dinner.  Plus I love when you put pasta in the oven and it gets a little crispy around the edges.  It's one of my favorite things :)

stuffed shells

Skinny Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
from Gina's Skinny Taste

27 (9 oz) jumbo pasta shells
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
32 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
2 cups fat free or part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
16 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well
8 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

1. Boil water and cook shells according to package directions, make sure to make them al dente.
2. Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in oil. Add turkey and salt and brown until cooked, breaking up in small pieces. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and basil, then simmer on low, covered, about 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, egg, spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan.
4. Once shells are cooked and cool, fill each shell with (about 2 heaping tbsp) cheese mixture and place on a large baking dish, or two smaller dishes, covering the bottom of the dish with a little sauce.
5. Top shells with half of the sauce, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes; uncover foil and bake 5 more minutes. Serve with additional sauce on top.


Sarah said...

YUM! I am definitely making this soon laver!

Anonymous said...

i just got really hungry

Kendall said...

These italian meals are making me sooo hungry!!

Debbie said...

these were really good! even my 7 year old loved...what's there not to like :) i even added pumpkin to the cheese mixture.

Debbie said...

these were really good! even my 7 year old loved...what's there not to like :) i even added pumpkin to the cheese mixture.

d.liff said...

Pumpkin is such a great idea - will definitely try that next time!