Monday, September 17, 2012

Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Meat and Spinach

 There are several meals that my mother makes where I am immediately reminded of her and the comforts of home and this is one of them. She has been making these stuffed shells for as long as I can remember. This dish is a favorite among my entire family and it has become tradition to serve it our first night of our annual beach trip.  These stuffed shells can easily be frozen making it a wonderful dinner to take to a friend who has had a baby or for a loved one who is sick. 

My mom normally uses ground turkey when making these but I chose to use ground chicken, which worked really well mixed with the other ingredients. Either way they are both a healthy alternative so choose the one you and your family prefer. These cheesy shells have been lightened up so that you and your family can still enjoy this famous Italian dish but without the guilt.  

Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Meat and Spinach

- 1 lb of ground chicken or turkey
- 2- 10oz boxes frozen spinach
- 1 egg
- 1- 24 oz. container low fat cottage cheese
- 3/4 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Ragu)
- 1 Box jumbo shells
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- salt and pepper

- Cook the shells in boiling water till tender (about 8-10 minutes)
- While noodles are cooking add olive oil to a large skillet and saute the onions. Add in the ground meat and continue to saute until the meat is cooked through.
- In a large mixing bowl add the cooked ground meat, spinach, egg, cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Mix together
- Drain noodles and allow to cool

- Begin stuffing the shells with the meat and cheese mixture
- In a baking dish (you may need two) cover the bottom with some of the marinara sauce. Place the stuffed shells in the dish with the seam side up. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce over the shells and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

*** If you are not baking the shells immediately after preparing them or if they have been frozen beforehand wait to pour the marinara sauce until ready to bake.***


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