If you haven’t guessed by now, we are on a winter diet, trying to drop the weight caused by holiday excess.
In past years, we’ve tried all kinds of different diets: the South Beach Diet, the Sonoma Diet, Atkins, the American Heart Association Diet. This year, we’re just taking the best elements of each and trying to eat clean, without a lot of fats and sugars and cutting calories as much as possible.
That’s why this recipe was so appealing to me. Not only was it delicious, but it uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts — in other words, all protein, no fat — and fat free cottage cheese. Plus the spinach has tons of iron in it. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find whole wheat jumbo pasta shells, but there were enough nutritional positives in this recipe so that I didn’t feel too bad.
This was very economical, one of the least costly dishes we’ve made this year. This dish also would be a great way to use up leftover chicken or pork, or you could easily make it with ground turkey.
The flavor was superb — each shell tasted like a miniature lasagna — plus there was plenty leftover for lunches later in the week. What’s not to love about this recipe?
Jumbo Shells Stuffed with Chicken and Spinach
1 package frozen cut spinach, defrosted and drained
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced small
1 15-oz container fat free cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 TBS hot sauce
1 26-oz jar red pasta sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 TBS grated parmesan (separate)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta shells according to package directions, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, egg, chicken, cottage cheese, parmesan and hot sauce and mix well.
3. Pour 1/2 jar of pasta sauce in bottom of a 13″x9″ casserole dish and spread it around evenly. Stuff each shell with about 2 TBS of the filling (Using your hands works best, but use a spoon if this is too weird for you). Arrange the shells, filled side up, on the sauce in the baking dish. Spoon about a TBS of the sauce over each shell. I had plenty of sauce leftover, so I saved it for another time.
4. Cover with foil and bake for 30 miutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Return to oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Are you one of the millions of people like us who diet during the winter months? What sort of diet are you on? Share your story in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!