Saturday, May 26, 2012

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I was making dinner last night and decided to attempt my cousin's Stuffed Shell Recipe. It had been a while since I've made this, so I made it up as I went along. I decided to stuff it with turkey, spinach, and ricotta. I used mushroom pepper jar sauce and covered it in mozzarella.

From start to finish this recipe took about an hour to prepare and cook, but makes about 30+ stuffed shells. Depends on how much filling you put in each one, mine were fairly hardy. We ate about 6 each. The filling could be used for Lasagna or Raviolis as well.

I used my food processor (still awesome!) to dice/chop up the onion and the garlic. Put it in a hot frying pan and let it get soft. I added in some seasonings here. Oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. I stirred this around for about a minute. Then I added the meat. I used ground chicken but turkey or beef would be fine too.

Once it cooked through there was a lot of liquid in the pan. I drained it then added in the spinach leaves. I was rushing around the grocery store and just grabbed a bag of spinach. Not all bags of spinach are created equal. This bag had spinach with stems and I had to pick through it. Next time I'll make sure I get baby spinach leaves just for making this dish a little easier. However it made no difference to the taste. I wilted the spinach in the meat mixture. The meat was very chunky and not the texture I was looking for so I dumped it all in the food processor and pulsed it a few times until it was coarse sand texture.
Next I added in the container of ricotta cheese. YUM!

Meanwhile, I cooked the jumbo shells and had them drained and waiting to be filled. I under cook them a two minutes because I am against soggy pasta and it is going to bake in the oven more too.

I put some sauce in the bottom of the pan and started to stuff the shells and place them in the baking dish. I used a jar of Mushroom and Pepper sauce. Nothing super fancy.

Next I covered it with the rest of the sauce and then a bag of mozzarella cheese. Baked it uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to get a little golden.

Changes for next time? Well, we didn't think it had enough flavor. I think I might try it with chicken sausage (out of the casings), or double/triple the herbs when cooking the meat. And for those who don't like ground turkey, it didn't taste like there was any meat in it, and because I pulsed it in the food processor there wasn't any meat texture either.

All and all a tasty meal and not too intensive. It can be changed easily for your food preferences or whatever ingredients you have in the house.

I made Molten Lava Cakes for dessert!

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Serves 4-6
Jumbo Shells
1 med/small vidalia Onion
5 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb ground turkey 
16 oz (ish) of fresh spinach
16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 jar of sauce (or homemade sauce)
2 cups of mozzarella cheese (it is 1 package)

  1. Heat pan with some olive oil and add chopped onion and garlic.
  2. Add red pepper flakes, pepper, oregano. Stir.
  3. Add meat and continue to stir.
  4. When mostly done cooking add in spinach until it wilts (about 30 seconds).
  5. Pulse in food processor until everything is about the same size.
  6. Let mixture cool.
  7. Boil water and cook shells a few minutes shorter than the recommended package directions.
  8. Add in ricotta, salt, pepper, any more seasonings, and then egg to the cooled meat mixture.
  9. Put some sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, stuff shells, top with rest of sauce and mozzarella.
  10. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.

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