Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cheese and Tofu Stuffed Shells

When I was a kid, my mom occasionally made stuffed shells. I remember helping her mix the cheeses to stuff inside. Oh, how I adored these cheesy pasta goodness!

But I haven't had them in years. Actually that's a lie, I had them once in Healthy Choice frozen dinner.

I bought a replacement "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" because my old mass market paperback one fell into a sink full of dirty dish water (don't ask). This new one actually has more recipes and photos! So during my first read through of the cookbook I stumbled on the stuffed shells.

It looked easy enough.

Ingredients:
12 jumbo pasta shells
1/4 cup shredded carrot (1 small)
2 tablespoons sliced green onion (1)
2 ta8 ounces tofu, drained
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 beaten egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes, cut up (or just buy it already diced)
1/2 of a 6-ounce can (1/3 cup) tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a saucepan cook carrot and green onion in a small amount of water until tender; drain.



2. For filling, in a medium mixing bowl mash tofu with a fork. Stir in carrot-onion mixture, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, the egg white, salt, and pepper. Set aside.



3. For sauce, in a saucepan combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.




4. Stuff each cooked shell with about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling. Place shells in an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish.





5. Pour sauce over shells and baked, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until heated through.




Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.



Makes 4 main dish servings
349 calories
15 g total fat
3 g fiber
25 g protein

Notes:

1. I had to go to two stores to find the shells. Of course when I got home and started to make the shells I realized I forgot the tofu. So my "cheese and tofu stuffed shells" are actually just cheese stuffed shells.

2. Whomever created this recipe had the math skills of a cat. Seriously. There's at least 24 pasta shells in a box. Plus, what am I going to do with the remaining ricotta and tomato paste? It makes more sense to double it. Besides, once your dinner guests discover how great these are, they'll want seconds. And I'm sorry but 3 shells is a serving? What is this, Jenny Craig?

3. But they turned out really well. So well I ate all 24 over the course of two days. As much as I love them, they were a pain and a but to make, and I can't resist them.

4. Oh, and the carrot and onion- what was that about? Leave them out, trust me. Vegetables have no business in the stuffed shells. None. So if you really want veggies heat up some frozen broccoli or make a salad, but leave the carrots out!

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