Friday, January 17, 2014

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Shells with Meatless Sauce

This is one of my very favorite vegetarian dinners that you didn't even notice was vegetarian. If you've got people in your family that really need to eat meat to feel like they've had a meal, this is the dinner for them! I add meatless crumbles for some vegetarian protein & no one notices. Yes, I'm sneaky like that. Enjoy!! 

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Here's what you'll need:
1 pkg of jumbo shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb bag of meatless crumbles (I love the Morning Star brand)
32 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 frozen cubes of basil (equal to 2 tsp-- check out the pic below!)
2 frozen cubes of cilantro (also 2 tsp)
15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
8 oz. reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
16 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed, dried (all the water should be squeezed out)
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded

First, cook pasta shells as directed on the package.  This should take about 15 minutes.  While they're cooking you can start on the other steps. {Tip: After the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and run cold water over it to stop the pasta from cooking.  You can also rinse it in some oil to keep the shells from sticking together.}

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion & garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes.  Then add meatless crumbles & cook for 5-10 more minutes.  Add diced tomatoes, basil, cilantro and cook on low for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While waiting, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Also, mix ricotta, mozzarella, egg, spinach, and Parmesan together in a bowl.  Spread part of the meatless sauce in the 13" x 9" pan-- enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Next fill the shells with cheese/spinach mix.  Top with remaining meatless sauce.

Cover the pan with foil and cook for about 45 minutes at 375 F.  Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.


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How cool are these? They were $2 at Walmart for 20 servings.  Just keep your basil and other herbs in the freezer and pop one frozen cube out when you need it.  One cube equals one teaspoon.  These are so great for me, because I often cook for one & I don't want my herbs to spoil. Thank you to whoever invented these!

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