Monday, May 23, 2011

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

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.


ARLENE said...

I don't make them often, but now I wonder why not. These look absolutely delicious!

Julie said...

I just adore stuffed shells...glad you ran across this recipe.

Cathy said...

Your stuffed shells look fantastic, Teresa. They are one of my favorite pasta dishes. I need to get rid of a few cookbooks that I never use too. They sure have a way of accumulating on the shelp.

Natalie said...

YUM! stuffed shells is one of the first things I made my husband when we were dating :)

Sook said...

So filling and yummy! Can't go wrong with stuffed shells! :)

girlichef said...

Aw yeah, my kinda meal ;) These look great!! And I love that plate. (I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that you were getting rid of cookbooks.... ;P)

Pam said...

Yum! I love that you added fennel seeds. They look terrific.

Mary said...

These really look delicious. I don't fix shells often enough. You've inspired me. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Christy said...

Stuffed shells are always great dishes for parties and even for normal home dinners:) Great job, they really looked inviting;)

Reeni said...

One of my favorites - never had them with all the different cheeses - they look excellent! I am going through the same thing right now, it's hard parting with some things but it seems like once they're gone I haven't thought twice about it.

Victor said...

I love stuffed shells, one of my favorite is ricotta, prosciutto and chives, baked in marinara sauce. Yours look absolutely delicious.

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

these look tasty and love the plate so hope you get to visit the UK one day my friend hugs

Joanne said...

I may never move just so I don't have to go through all my cookbooks...but more power to you!

These shells look amazing! All that cheese...

Anonymous said...

I love stuffed shells, but my husband doesn't. :( I'll need to fix these for my lunch next week!

Cassie said...

Stuffed shells! I haven't made those in sooo long. I really love them with alfredo sauce... well anything with alfredo sauce, really. LOL!

When I cook beans in the crock pot, I put them in dried - not even soaked - with LOTS of water (like 3-4 times as much water than beans) and then put it on high for however long I sleep. 8-9 hours is ideal. They're more 'gassy' since you use the same liquid throughout the cooking process but it's SUPER easy and retains a lot of the nutrients.

Velva said...

Delicious! I love feeding a crowd so keeping it to feed 12 is great. :-)

Moving in a year? Wow. You can never start too early, in going through your stuff.


P.S. cookbooks are like crack to me.

The Blonde Duck said...

Hearty, meaty, three favorite words.

Jilly said...

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marifra79 said...

Particolare e sicuramente gustoso! Un abbraccio

Lauren's Latest said...

I LOVE stuffed shells. These look awesome.

Anonymous said...

wow, these look so cheesy and yummy !

Chris said...

I am totally with you on the salt. I have to have it in there, even though I season much more lightly than most folks do.

Tasty looking shells, this is one of the dishes that Alexis likes to cook.

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