A quick Baby B update before I start...I scheduled our full anatomy ultrasound this morning for July 21st so we will find out the sex that day right before we fly out to Key West for a vacation...I can't wait for that day for so many reasons!!!
I found this recipe in one of my magazines and decided to lighten it up a bit by choosing low fat cheese, and less of it, lower sugar marinara, and of course lean beef. Just a warning...this one is much more complicated than my usual, but since I haven't been cooking much I was feeling up for the challenge. It wasn't hard, just more steps than usual. Barry wasn't sure about me "experimenting" when we were having company over, but I think it turned out pretty good. It tasted pretty similar to lasagna, next time I will probably add more pesto to change the flavor a little bit.
Here is what you will need:
20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 pound lean ground beef (turkey would work too)
1 large onion, chopped
15 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1.5 cups part skim shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup prepared Pesto sauce
1-2 jars of your favorite (low in sugar) spaghetti sauce
Start by browning meat and onions together in a skillet until meat is no longer pink, drain the excess fat off. It seems like a lot of onion, but its not!
If you are good at multitasking you can boil the pasta at the same time. I actually used the whole box of shells because I wasn't sure if 20 would be enough...I had leftovers, but no big deal! Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, pesto sauce, egg and half of the meat mixture.
Pour about 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. The original recipe called for just 1 jar...I had an extra jar on had in case that wasn't enough. It wasn't!
Spoon cheese mixture into shells and place into casserole dish. Don't be afraid to fill them...I had a little bit of the filling left over and mine were pretty stuffed!
Combine remaining spaghetti sauce and beef mixture (I used a whole jar of sauce) and pour over top of shells.
Top with remaining shredded cheese. I threw some extra Parmesan on just because.
Now, the original recipe said to cover and refrigerate over night. I did that because I had time to make this the night before, but I am not sure its necessary. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
I'm off to the treadmill...feeling a little jog today! Happy Monday!