Thursday, October 3, 2013

Skinny Stuffed Shells.

Cooking and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the physical act of cooking-- I feel like an artist almost when I cook. All of these individual pieces come together to form a masterpiece (or a disaster...). But I did it. I made something. And even if it's something that's only decent, I'm pretty darn proud of it because I created it. (Plus, my husband likes when I feed him...)

But holy wow, I get so bored when I cook sometimes.  All alone in the kitchen with no noise but the chop of the knife or sizzle of the skillet gets boring.  Not to mention the cleaning that is required when I cook.  With takeout, all I have to do is throw stuff away.  No dishes except for maybe a fork and a cup.

Some recipes, though, are worth the standing alone in the kitchen for a half hour and all the cleaning required afterwards.  This is one of them.  I adapted this recipe from a lasagna recipe I found, and it is AH-mazing.  I've made the lasagna, but the stuffed shells are even more delicious in my opinion.  Plus, the shells make better leftovers.  We ate this for several days, and it was still good every time.

They're "skinny" because of the substitution of turkey for beef and the limited amount of cheese.  But there's so much flavor that you won't even notice.  And for less than 500 calories per serving??  I call this a total win.

1 pound ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
1 Tbsp minced onion
1 (26-ounce) jar Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara sauce
1 package jumbo shell noodles (I didn't use the entire box)
8 oz fat-free ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 (10-ounce) package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350.  Boil shells until al dente-- you want them to still be a little firm, but not crunchy.

Cook turkey in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add minced onion about half way through cooking the meat.  Once the turkey is completely cooked, drain off excess grease/fat.  Add the sauce to the turkey and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the cheese mixture.  Make sure to stir the sauce periodically so it doesn't burn on the bottom.

Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, basil, and thawed spinach in a bowl.  Once your noodles are done, rinse them in cold water until they're cool enough for you to hold in your hand and fill each shell with about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture.  Put a small amount of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a a 9x13 pan and place your filled shells on top.  Once your pan is full of shells, pour your sauce over them and top with the mozzarella (and sprinkle with more seasonings if you like).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until cheese melts and bubbles.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  And enjoy!

Based on 8 servings-- 469 Calories; 14g Fat; 31g Protein; 54g Carbohydrate (10g sugar).


  1. Mmmm these look TASTY! I dunno if I have enough patience to make stuffed shells tho....I'd rather just throw it all together and mix it up hahah

  2. Mmmmm I want to make these NOW!!! They look amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

  3. Ooh these do look amazing! Pinning now... Thanks!

  4. Holy yum. Making this ASAP. I'm a sucker for any pasta dish :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. I, too, get lonely and bored in the kitchen. My dad installed a radio under the kitchen cabinets years ago and it's made kitchen time SO MUCH BETTER. I strongly recommend it!!