Monday, March 8, 2010

DINNER: Stuffed but Skinny Pasta Shells and Sauteed Mushrooms and Tomato over Spinach

Servings: 5 - 6

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or ground chicken or tofu)
  • 1 large bunch of spinach (try the Trader Joe's bag of spinach - it's pre-cut)
  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms (or try one of the small containers), chopped
  • 1 box of large pasta shells (try Barolli's)
  • 1 container of low-fat/non-fat cottage cheese (Trader Joe's has a good one - but the half or full size container depending on what ratio of cottage cheese/mozzarella you prefer)
  • 1 bag of shredded light mozzarella cheese (personally prefer a spicy blend such as Trader Joe's light Mexican blend)
  • 1 bottle of arrabiata pasta sauce (Trader Joe's has a great one) 
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (Hunts makes small bottles that are perfect for this recipe)
  • 3 eggs (substitute: 3 egg whites)
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Boil Pasta 
    • Tip: add a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp of olive oil to the boiling water prior to adding in the pasta 
  • Prepare Meat/Tofu/Chicken Sauce
    • Saute garlic with a 1 tbsp of olive oil for at least 2/3 minutes
    • Add in ground beef (or alternate)
    • Allow beef and garlic to simmer for 3-4 minutes
    • Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of black pepper
    • Add in 1/2 of bottle of arabbiata sauce and mix the meat and sauce to ensure a uniform consistency - allow the the mixture to simmer for at least 3-4 minutes
    • Add in all of the tomato paste and mix
    • Add in red pepper
    • Add in remaining arabbiate sauce
    • Allow mixture to simmer for another 5 minutes or so - toss in a handful of spinach if you like
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare Cheese Sauce
    • Mix cottage cheese, mozzarella, and eggs 
    • Set aside in the refrigerator until you prepare your pasta
  •  Prepare your pasta for baking
    • Spread your meat sauce across the bottom of your casserole dishes (use as many as you need to use all of your pasta shells)
    • This layer should cover the bottom of your dishes entirely
    • Spread out the pasta face up across your dishes - leave them with breathing room
    • Fill your pasta (use a spoon) with the cheese mixture
    • Drizzle any remaining sauce on top of the pasta
  • Bake @350 for 30 minutes
  • While your pasta is baking, prepare your saute
    • Wash and leave spinach to dry
    • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium size frying pan and add in all of your mushrooms
    • Add in a dash of garlic salt (or garlic powder and salt)
    • Add in a generous amount of black pepper
    • Add in cayenne pepper to your taste
    • Allow mushrooms to saute for at least 4-5 minutes
    • Add in tomatoes
    • Allow mixture to heat for another 5-10 minutes
    • Serve the sauteed mushrooms and tomato over the spinach
  • Enjoy!

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