Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells
I honestly can’t begin to tell you how delicious these skillet veggie and cheese stuffed shells are! They are easy to make, easy to clean up and even easier to eat if you ask me. Pasta is definitely one of my favorite guilty pleasures, but throwing in an assortment of fresh veggies somehow doesn’t make me feel as bad at the end of the day! C’mon I know you agree with me.
This past weekend was my birthday and I actually ended up making these stuffed shells for my whole family while we were all together since I love getting their approval on new dishes that I come up with. Well I’m happy to report that they all gave me two BIG thumbs up and even my picky little brother who hates vegetables said this was a winner! Oh and if you’re wondering why I cooked for everyone on my own birthday, well it’s what I genuinely love to do and it isn’t often my entire family gets together for dinner so this was really fun. Followed by Game of Thrones of course, but don’t even get me started on how obsessed I am with that show. ALL the heart eyes on that one!
Oh and don’t worry I definitely did celebrate my birthday though and apologize in advance to those who saw my excessive wine-induced snap chats last Sunday.
To be honest when I was turning 30 I absolutely HATED it. The whole idea of it literally depressed me. I considered myself officially “old” and thought all of my exciting care-free years were behind me and it was time to become a full-fledged adult, but I honestly couldn’t have been more wrong. I absolutely LOVE my thirties and so far they have marked some of my greatest life achievements and memorable moments. And hey adulting hasn’t been so bad either – I am more financially stable than I ever was in my twenties, I have stronger (more lasting) relationships, I have tons more confidence and overall I am a much healthier person. Most of the time. Best part is, there is sooo much more to come and I am just getting started! How’s that for a glass half full kind of mindset?
Ok so back to the carbs.
You guys this recipe literally couldn’t be any easier to make. If you can boil water and shred up some veggies then you’re already one step ahead of the game. For the filling I used shredded zucchini, carrots, spinach and onion all mixed together with a little garlic, ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan and, um, lemme just tell you that this sure makes one delicious combo! Pretty sure I could just eat this filling by the spoonful if no one was watching.
I also sauteed everything in the same skillet that I cooked the shells in which makes for super easy clean-up and less dishes to have to worry about. Your dishwasher (er husband) will thank you!
Okay let’s talk about sauce!
Now you could either make your own (which don’t get me wrong – I LOVE to do) or just use your favorite store-bought jar from your local grocer to save a little time. No ladies this does not mean you’re lazy! During the week sometimes it’s so nice to come home and whip up a quick, easy meal with just a few simple ingredients for your family and the great thing is this whole entire dish only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. But for those of you who love making your own homemade sauce, try this recipe for my favorite tomato sauce OR this simple bolognese sauce (just omit the meat). Either way I think you’ll agree these stuffed pasta shells are a win-win!
I mean not only will your kitchen smell incredible, but your kids (and hubbies) won’t even realize they’re eating veggies! Hey it’s okay to be sneaky from time to time.
I also love this dish because it freezes really well too which is perfect for those busy weeknights. I can’t begin to tell you how stuffed our freezer is with pre-made meals ready to go, but they really are just so convenient! Simply stuff the pasta shells, cover tightly with plastic wrap and they will freeze nicely for up to three months! When you’re ready to make them, just de-thaw them in the fridge for a few hours, add your pasta sauce to the skillet and continue with the recipe as instructed. Super easy!!
And before you dive into this delicious cheesy dish, allow me to impart some important words of wisdom to you – life is all about a healthy (yet realistic) balance and sometimes you just need to stuff your face with a big bowl of pasta!
- 27 (9 oz) jumbo pasta shells
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 large carrots, shredded
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
- 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups pasta sauce (24 oz)
- Cook pasta shells according to the package instructions, drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute onion, garlic, carrots and zucchini until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and saute an additional minute until all combined and transfer spinach mixture into a large bowl.
- Stir in ricotta cheese, about ¾ cup of mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of Parmesan (the remaining cheese will be used at the end) then add salt and mix until completely combined.
- Pour pasta sauce into the skillet then fill each shell with 2 heaping tablespoons of veggie mixture.
- Arrange stuffed shells in the skillet, cover and cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. Top with remaining cheese, serve and enjoy!