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Stuffed Shells with Vodka Marinara Sauce

We have found a way to bring pasta and cheese to a healthy weight loss plan. This dish consists of jumbo shells stuffed with a ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese stuffing. This entree is then smothered in a delicious vodka marinara sauce. The meal is completed and served alongside a flavorful Italian cauliflower salad.

Stuffed Shells with Vodka Marinara Sauce


This easy to follow recipe is one for the books!  These jumbo macaroni shells are stuffed with a cheese filling, covered in sauce and ready to bake in no time. This true Italian comfort meal doubles as a perfect for a pot-luck dinner or a family dinner – you decide!

Nutrition per Serving (serves 6, serving size: 2 Stuffed Shells + 1/6 Sauce + 1 cup Italian Cauliflower)
Calories: 390
Protein: 26g
NET Carbohydrate: 36g

Ingredients

Jumbo Shells 
1, 12 oz. Package Jumbo Shells

Cheese Stuffing 
2 Whole Eggs
2 cups Ricotta Cheese, fat-free
1 ½ cups Mozzarella, shredded, reduced fat
6 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Parsley
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Vodka Marinara 
1 can (15 oz.) Diced Tomatoes, without added salt
1 can (15 oz.) Ground Tomato
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 oz. Vodka
1 tablespoon Basil, fresh, chopped
½ tablespoon Parsley, fresh, chopped
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Italian Roasted Cauliflower 
1 head fresh Cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 Red Onion, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

Jumbo Shells
1. Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Cheese Stuffing
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. 
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. 
4. Stuff shells with the mixture, dividing evenly amongst the 12 cooked shells.

Vodka Marinara 
1. Heat a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat and add olive oil. 
2. Once heated, add chopped yellow onion and allow to cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes until fragrant.
3. Add diced tomatoes, ground tomatoes, tomato paste, vodka, basil, parsley, sea salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
4. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Allow simmering for at least 20 minutes but can be left on low for longer, as needed. Stir in the Parmesan just before adding over shells.
5. Spread about 1 cup of the Vodka Marinara on the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Place shells, open side up in the pan. The shells should be placed close together to remain upright.
6. Once all shells are in the baking dish, add remaining sauce over top. 
7. Bake about 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Italian Roasted Cauliflower
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together chopped garlic, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
3. Spread cauliflower, red onion and red bell pepper on a sheet pan in a single layer. 
4. Drizzle balsamic mixture over cauliflower mixture and toss together, ensuring all vegetables are coated.
5. Roast for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower softens and begins to turn golden, turning half-way through.

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