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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Shells

    When we were in our first days of being home with our newborn son, we had some amazing friends stop by with a prepared meal of Stuffed Shells for us to eat (aside: that friend was Lindsay of Hoosier Baker; she knows her way around a kitchen, yum).  It was so delicious and a deviation from the typical lasagnas and casseroles (although ANYTHING is appreciated when you just have a baby), that I wanted to make this dish for some other friends of ours who just had a baby.  I looked at a number of recipes before coming up with my own version below.  This meal is great served with some Italian Parmesan Cheese Bread (like my Crusty Cheese Bread, but use Mozzarella for this meal) and/or a fresh mixed green salad with oil and vinegar. 

      • Ingredients:

        • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano 

        • 1 tsp. Dried Parsley (or 1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh)

      • (28-ounce) Can Crushed Tomatoes (Organic)

      • (10-ounce) Can Tomato Sauce (No-Salt, Organic)

      • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Divided in two

      • 1 Cup Crumbled  Feta Cheese (reduced-fat), Divided in two

      • 1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese (reduced, or non-fat)

      • 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan or Romano (or blend)

      • 1 Egg (or substitute)

      • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper

      • (14-ounce) Can Artichoke Hearts, Chopped

      • (12-16 ounce) Package Frozen Chopped Spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry)

      • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced

      • 35-40 Cooked Jumbo Pasta Shells (12 ounce package)

      • Directions:

      1.  Preheat oven to 375°.

      2.  Cook Pasta Shells according to package directions. 

      3.  Combine oregano, parsley, tomatoes, and tomato sauce in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat; 10-13 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; set aside.
      4.  Combine 1/4 Cup Mozzarella, 1/2 Cup Feta, and the next 7 ingredients (all minus pasta shells) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pasta shell; place stuffed shells in a 9"x13" baking dish coated with cooking spray.
      5. Spoon tomato mixture over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 Cup Mozzarella and 1/2 Cup Feta cheese.
      6.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is heated through. 


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