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Stuffed Shells

Posted Jul 29 2009 10:27pm

When I was young, my mom would make tofu-stuffed shells once a week. I LOVED the mix of the jumbo shells, marina sauce and cheese. I didn't really know what tofu was when I was young so I guess I didn't mind it.
This recipe is perfect when you are looking for comfort food and you want to feel satisfied without a lot of carb calories. It is easy to overdo it when eating pasta since the feeling of fullness/satisfaction doesn't usually come until you've devoured at least 4 servings pasta and well over 800 calories.
When was the last time you ate pasta at a restaurant? Did you have one of the following?
Ruby Tuesday: Roma Chicken Alfredo Pasta - 968 calories, 43 grams fat
Sbarro: Spaghetti with Chicken Parmesan - 930 calories, 36 grams fat
Ruby Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan with Pasta - 1275 calories, 82 grams fat
Buca Di Beppo: Macaroni Rosa (serves 2) - 2036 calories, 119 grams fat
Romano's Macaroni Grill: Eggplant Parmesan - 1240 calories, 64 grams fat
Olive Garden: Chicken Alfredo - 1430 calories

How bout my version of stuffed shells? Best part about these shells, you only need to eat 3-4 of them to feel satisfied when served with a large dinner salad w/ nuts, chickpeas and your choice of vegetarian or animal protein (ex. veggie burger, chicken). Also, if you have kids, this is the perfect meal to hide nutrients. Rather than telling your kids you are having stuffed shells with tofu, tell them that you are having pizza shells. Because tofu doesn't have a taste, they will think that the white stuff is cheese :) However, when you cook for your kids, be sure to tell them why it is important to eat healthy food and give them options to eat a little of everything rather than eating just one thing. Serve broccoli on the side of their plate and in the shell. If they choose not to eat the broccoli on the side of the plant they will never know that they had it in the shells!
Also, when you serve the shells to your self, serve the shells on a small plate rather than a large dinner plate. Often we eat with our eyes and putting 3-4 shells on a large plate will make you feel like you aren't eating enough but with 3-4 shells on a small plate and a large bowl with a dinner salad you will feel satisfied with lots of great nutrients.

Stuffed shells
Jumbo shells - Plan 4 shells per person
1 cup broccoli chopped (you could also add shredded carrots)
1 container firm tofu
2a-4 cloves garlic (chopped)
3/4 cup chopped onion (purple or white)
1 cup mushrooms
Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce
Shredded cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In boiling water, add your shells to a pot and reduce heat to medium until shells are Al Dente (a little firm). Turn off heat and empty water when noodles are done cooking.
3. In a microwavable bowl, heat broccoli, garlic, mushrooms and onion for 45-60 seconds.
4. Crumble tofu in bowl with broccoli. Add 2-3 spoonfuls Parmesan (about 2 tbsp) and a little pepper (to your liking). Stir.
5. In a baking dish (circular or rectangular), spoon around 1 cup marina sauce to cover the bottom of the the dish.
6. Arrange shells (open side up) in the dish. Spoon veggie/tofu mixture into shell to fill the shell. First fill all shells to the top and then add more to stuff the shells.
7. Cook shells for around 15 minutes. Avoid cooking too long that shells become too hard.
8. Turn off oven and spoon a few spoonfuls marinara sauce on shells. Sprinkle 1 handful (around 1/2 cup) cheese over shells while still in the oven.
9. Serve when cheese is melted and enjoy!

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