Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 6 to 8 hours on low
These slow cooker stuffed shells get a nutrition boost by the use of
whole-wheat pasta shells and low-fat cheeses, while gaining fiber
and maintaining flavor with the addition of spinach and butternut
squash. There’s no need to precook the shells in this simple and
delicious traditional Italian pasta meal.
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Nonstick cooking spray
6 cups Rustic Marinara Sauce (here) or jarred sauce, divided
1 cup water
1 (12-ounce) package jumbo whole-wheat pasta shells
1. Place the butternut squash in a microwave-safe bowl and
microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Transfer the
squash to a large bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the spinach,
cottage cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, and Italian seasoning and mix
well. The mixture will be stiff .
2. Spray the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with the cooking
spray. Mix 2 cups of marinara sauce with the water in the bottom
of the slow cooker. Fill each pasta shell with cheese-and-vegetable
mixture and layer half of them in the bottom of the slow cooker,
open-side up. Spoon another 2 cups of marinara sauce over the
shells. Repeat with the remaining shells and the remaining 2 cups
of marinara sauce.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
4. Serve hot, with additional cheeses and fresh basil, if desired.
Per Serving (5 to 6 shells): Calories: 391; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 4g;
Trans Fat: 0g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g;
Cholesterol: 12mg; Sodium: 397mg; Carbohydrates: 54g; Fiber: 7g; Sugars:
7g; Protein: 22g
MAKE-AHEAD: To make these a freezer meal, assemble the shells into a
glass dish including the top layer of sauce, then cover and freeze. When
you are ready to cook the shells, allow them to thaw overnight, then place
in your slow cooker following the steps above.