Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Well, I have been MIA this week for 2 reasons. First, I didn't cook AT ALL this week. I made food on Sunday and we've been eating off of it all week! Secondly (and more importantly), we didn't have internet all week! SOB! I was lost! Our wireless router/modem took a dive on Monday and we finally got a new one from our friends at Bell South, so we're back in business! YES!

I want to share this recipe with you. It doesn't get a number because it's not new. It's one of the few recipes I've made quite a few times. I'm going to post my abridged version of it (mainly that I don't make my own sauce), but if you'd like to see the original, click here. These shells are easy to put together and only mildly time consuming to stuff. The recipe makes 2 pans, so you can do like I did and give one away (hi Molly!) or put one in the freezer! I love recipes like this!

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Source: Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe
Yield: 2 casseroles, 5 servings per dish (about 4 shells, and 1/2 C marinara)

This dish goes straight from the freezer to oven - no thawing required. You can also easily vary the filling by adding basil or oregano and a different cheese. (We tried fontina instead of mozzarella and threw in some arugula for a peppery bite.) Make some garlic bread and a green salad and dinner's on.

1 pound jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
Cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 cups prepared marinara sauce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.

CALORIES 470 (30% from fat); FAT 15.7g (sat 8.8g,mono 4.7g,poly 0.9g); IRON 3.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 508mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.7g; SODIUM 916mg; PROTEIN 28.3g; FIBER 5.3g

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