January 24, 2013

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

On Monday, I posted about needing to take better care of myself and so far I've been pretty good. I've walked everyday this week and I actually signed up for a half-marathon that will take place on June 1st. Big things happening around here, people. 

Anyway, this post is not about how I am already nervous for an event that is 6 months from now. It is about how even though I am trying really hard to eat better I still have to feed my husband and he doesn't believe a meal is balanced unless it somehow involves meat. My husband is an accountant which means that he is entering into "busy season". This means he won't be home at a decent hour until like late March/April. This year, instead of cooking for one (which I find impossible) I decided that I would make meals that can last through the week and that way, I can eat around 7 and if he comes home hungry he can heat it up and eat whenever. 

One of my go to, makes a lot, will last all week meals is Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells. I got the recipe from Annie's Eats. The only modifications I made were that I used less spinach and omitted the bread crumbs. I love this dish. It is so flavorful and I feel better because it has spinach in it. I also really enjoy that the recipe uses chopped tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. In order to keep myself in check, I've been eating only two shells and having a big green salad with it as well. G, however, eats as many as he wants. He gives these stuffed shells a 10.
The beginnings.
The husband does not care too much for spinach so I make sure to cut off the little stems by stacking them in a pile.
Then, I roll them up to slice them into little ribbons.
Voila!
Important ingredients.
Also very important if its being made in my house.
Cheese stuff.
Ready for the oven.
 Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg
16-ounces ricotta cheese
3-4oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

Directions:
1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
2 Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.
3 Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.
4 Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.
5 Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.















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