I definitely adapted the recipe to make it my own and enlisted my toddler to help me make dinner. It's his new favorite thing since he stopped taking his nap after school. He wants to cook, bake, or "help" me around the house. So not only it this recipe delicious, it's fun to make with your kids. My husband isn't a fan of ricotta cheese, or lots of it. So I decided to make this a little less cheesy of a filling, more vegetables, and I used cottage cheese to boost the protein factor. I have heard that most people's concern with using cottage cheese is that they are afraid it won't be as creamy as ricotta. All you need to do is use a blender or food processor (as I did in this recipe) and you will have the same texture, no problem. It's also a great way to incorporate other flavors into the filling and avoiding extra chopping. I hope you give these a try!
Spinach and Mushrooms Stuffed Shells
An original recipe inspired by:
20-24 jumbo shells, cooked, drained, and rinsed (I made the entire box because my kids LOVE to eat the big shells plain)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
12 ounces of sliced mushrooms (I just used button mushrooms but whatever is on sale will do)
1 10 oz pkg of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar of your favorite jarred marinara (or 3-4 cups of homemade)
1 cup low-fat small curd cottage cheese (I used 4%)
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
1 large egg
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, plus 1/2 cup for top of shells
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the pasta is cooking, start making the filling. In a food processor or blender (I used my mini-processor) puree the cottage cheese until smooth. Add the fresh basil and egg and process until well incorporated. Set aside.
|My 3 year old stirring the onions.|
|Mushrooms are done!|
|Add the spinach and stir until heated through and extra moisture has evaporated.|
In a 9x13 inch pan, pour 1/3 of the jar of sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan. Stuff the shells with about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling each. (I used 20 shells, but you may find you use a little more or less depending on how full you make them). Pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the top.
|They already look so good!|
|Ready for the oven.|
|Ready for the cheese after 60 minutes in the oven.|
|And ready to eat!|