I originally started this blog as a place to store tried and true recipes for my family. It didn't take long to discover how supportive and fun the blog community was and I became hooked! I rarely create my own recipes, but I still hope you'll enjoy the recipes that I find and tweak a bit.
Since we are (hopefully) moving in a year, I've been trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible lately. And as painful as it's been, I've even been getting rid of some of my books, including my cookbooks. Let's face it, as much as I love cookbooks, there's no point in holding on to a book that hasn't been used in years.
I feel like I gained way more then I lost by getting rid of a few cookbooks though. Since I was forced to leaf through all of my cooking books and magazines, I was able to rediscover a TON of recipes that I haven't tried yet. I almost felt like I had just gotten a whole new stack of books and magazines, just by going through them.
This was a recipe that I couldn't wait to try. I have never made stuffed shells before, but when I saw that they were full about about five different kinds of cheese, there was no hesitation. These are hearty, meaty, gooey and very family friendly. They're also made over to be lighter, so pretty much everyone wins with this one. Enjoy!
Cheesy Stuffed Shells Adapted from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, April/May 2008 This recipe serves 12! It makes a ton, so you may consider halving if you aren't feeding a crowd.
3/4 pound ground beef (I used turkey) 1 Italian turkey sausage link, casings removed 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 large onion 1 package (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese 1 egg, beaten 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided 1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasonings (I always like extra seasoning, so go by taste) 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1-2 teaspoons garlic salt (optional) 24-32 pasta shells, cooked and drained
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil 1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon pepper salt to taste (lighter recipes always omit salt, I know it's better for you, but I just can't stand it, so salt according to taste)
1. Crumble turkey or beef and sausage into a large nonstick skillet, add fennel seeds and onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is cooked through. Drain if needed.
2. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in spinach, ricotta and egg. Add 1 cup mozzarella, cottage cheese, Parmesan, cheddar, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Stuff pasta shells with meat mixture. Arrange in two 11x7 baking dishes, coated with cooking spray (I filled one 9x13 and one 8x8 for later). Combine sauce ingredients; spoon over shells. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.