Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuffed Shells with Kale

Did you have any Meat Marinara Sauce leftover from a couple weeks ago? I hope so! Thaw it out because here's one of my newest faves: Stuffed Shells. It's great with leftover or frozen sauce and is very quickly prepared. For some extra oomph, I like to stir some fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese into the sauce before stuffing the shells (it's a ricotta stand-in). I didn't in this case because we've been flying by the seats of our pants for the last few weeks (actually aalllll summer long) so we just didn't have it. And no way was I making an extra trip to the store. This is a meal that can be created strictly from what's on hand in your pantry and freezer.

After you get the shells in the oven, prepare the Sauteed Kale. If you aren't big on kale, you could saute spinach in its place, steam broccoli (that should be in your freezer too) or have a salad. Just don't forget your vegetable!

Stuffed Shells
Serves 2.

  • 4 oz (10 pieces) jumbo pasta shells (like Barilla)
  • 2 cups frozen Meat Marinara Sauce, thawed
  • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (such as Kraft made with 2% milk or full-flavored Sargento light)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add shells and gently boil until al dente (just starting to soften). Don't cook them too long--they'll fall apart when you fill them.
  3. Gently drain shells and allow to cool until you're able to handle them. Place the shells in your baking dish.
  4. Scoop meat sauce/cottage cheese mixture into each shell, filling shells evenly.
  5. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until sauce is hot.
  7. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Believe it or not, this is another healthy dish--even though it looks indulgent and might sound like something that's a treat. I especially love the "broth" that results from thawing the sauce and baking the shells in the oven. Talk about comfort food (made healthy)! Bon appetit.

Nutrition Facts (per 1/2 recipe shells, not including kale): Calories 284 | Total fat 7g | Saturated fat 4g | Cholesterol 39mg | Sodium 433mg | Carb 30g | Fiber 3g | Protein 24g.

Download the recipe here.