Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells & Sauteed Asparagus

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From our skinny table to yours...
Stuffed shells, lasanga, baked ziti, meatballs.... we love any and all italian foods, but don't love the endless calories and fat that come along with them!  We will share all of these delicious foods with low calorie counts that we have created, but first, here is our take on stuffed shells!  We all know, cheese (ricotta, mozarella, and parm) is the main fattening culprit in this dish, so we thought we would elimate half of the cheese and add in tons of vegetables.  You might think flavor has to be compromised, but no, in fact the shells were even more delicious and we have our husbands to back us up!  We took butternut squash, pureed it in the food processor and then added it to the minimal ricotta cheese included in this dish.  It's a cheesy, buttery, garlicy mixture that has more flavor than the typical shell and half the calories plus nutrients from the butternut squash, garlic and sauteed spinach.  Trust us and try this one, it's a healthy and go-to italian dish in our homes.  Pair it with any vegetable on the side because you can never have enough veggies!!  We chose asparagus, sauteed up with olive oil and garlic because it's a favorite in our homes.

As we have said, whenever we go italian, we make the same homeade yummy sauce.  The sauce is, of course, super healthy due to including sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and tons of garlic right into the sauce!  The sweet potatoes and carrots give the sauce a sweet tangy flavor that's always been a hit!

 We hope you enjoy this dish!!

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells & Sauteed Asparagus
Olive oil
Garlic (7-8 cloves)
Butternut squash
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tbs parm cheese
1/2 cup mozarella
Fresh ground pepper
1 box jumbo shells (makes approx 25 shells)

Our sauce
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 can sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 large carrot
1 small yellow onion
Garlic (5-6 cloves)
1 small sweet potato
Fresh basil
Parm cheese (1/4 cup)
1 tbs ricotta cheese

Let's get cooking! (Our sauce first)
1. Place raw carrots, onion, garlic and sweet potato into food processor if you have one, if not chop up all the ingredients finely.  Blend well then add to pot with 2 tbs olive oil.  Saute until softened (approx 4-5 minutes)
2. Add all 4 cans of tomato sauce and mix well
3. Add oregano and chopped fresh basil
4. Mix in both parm & ricotta and simmer for about an hour (the longer you cook, the better it will taste!)

Butternut Shells
1. Cook shells aldente according to package and set aside, meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Chop up butternut squash into bite size chunks and boil until tender
3. Place tender butternut squash, garlic (5-6 cloves) handful basil, parm cheese, oregano, & one tablespoon olive oil in food processor and puree until smooth
4. Stir ricotta cheese into the mix
5. Grab baking dish and spoon small layer of sauce to cover the bottom of pan.  Arrange all shells then stuff with the mixture, should make approx 25 shells
6. Top dish with sauce, mozarella cheese, and remaining basil leaves
7. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  The top should be bubbly and golden brown! 

1. Cut off stems of asparagus and saute with one tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic (2 cloves) until golden brown which takes approx 5 minutes!

Yum hope you enjoy!  Serves 4-6 :)

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