Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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.

#Oops.

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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!

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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.

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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!

One Pan Veggie Stuffed Shells

  • 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)
  1. Cook pasta shells according to the package instructions, drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour pasta sauce into the skillet then fill each shell with 2 heaping tablespoons of veggie mixture.
  5. 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!

Serving Size: 3 stuffed shells • Calories: 273 • Fat: 9.9 g • Saturated Fat: 3.9 g • Carbs: 34.1 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 13.8 g • Sugars: 7.8 g • WW Points+: 7 • Smart Points: 9

3.5.3208

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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.

#Oops.

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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!

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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.

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

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!

One Pan Veggie Stuffed Shells

  • 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)
  1. Cook pasta shells according to the package instructions, drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour pasta sauce into the skillet then fill each shell with 2 heaping tablespoons of veggie mixture.
  5. 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!

Serving Size: 3 stuffed shells • Calories: 273 • Fat: 9.9 g • Saturated Fat: 3.9 g • Carbs: 34.1 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 13.8 g • Sugars: 7.8 g • WW Points+: 7 • Smart Points: 9

3.5.3208

Our family's FAVORITE Skillet Veggie and Cheese Stuffed Shells - the perfect weeknight meal that is delicious and easy to freeze! eat-yourself-skinny.com

 

Sensational Sweet and Spicy Sambols

sambol

Being someone who loves a meal with many elements, Sri Lankan food was pretty much my dream come true. Every meal is served with plenty of sides: sauces, chutneys, relishes, and pickles, to make each bite unique and surprising. Sambol is the word for this seemingly endless collection of condiments, and I lost count trying to sample them all in a week.

I believe I mentioned in my previous post about Sri Lanka, how spicy the food is there. Like, blow-your-head-off spicy. And as if the curries themselves weren’t hot enough, the chili-based sambols on the side will certainly commit your taste buds to perplexing levels of pain.

sambol9

sambol9

Pol sambol is the ubiquitous, fiery condiment served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is probably one of the simplest dishes to make, consisting mainly of chili, shredded coconut, chili, lime, and chili – did I mention the chili? Yea. This mix ranges from very spicy to volcanically hot depending on whose table you’re sitting at.

On the second day of the trip, my tongue seeking refuge in something, dare I say it, borderline bland, I discovered one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted – and it wasn’t bland to say the least, just not sweat-inducing. Seeni sambol, a fragrant, Sri Lankan caramelized onion jam, turned out to be incredible on everything from hoppers to curries, and could turn a pretty plain bowl of red rice into something remarkably special. I became totally obsessed with this sambol and it was the very first thing I attempted to make when I came home. I really cannot tell you enough how awesome this stuff is. Do yourself a favour and make a batch soon!

sambol2

The most memorable experience I had in Sri Lanka was learning to cook traditional recipes with two women in the local village. It was likely one of the most eye-opening culinary experiences I’ve ever had – not only learning from such passionate and experienced cooks, but seeing their traditional kitchen, tools, and techniques really inspired me.

sambol6

sambol6

Take their stove, for example. A large clay bench with large mounds molded into it held the earthenware pots in place, and the heat underneath was adjusted by adding more sticks to the fire, or taking them away. Genius. Above the stove was a large wooden wrack to hang beans, seeds, and herbs for fast drying, which I thought was a brilliant way to take advantage of the residual heat. Ingredients were prepped on the floor, since it’s cooler down there, and also nice to sit while you’re working. The knife to cut veggies was actually attached to a stool, and instead of holding the blade, you hold the vegetables and basically drop them on top, slicing them in the air to fall onto a grass mat. The sambol was made by grinding all the ingredients together on a huge flat stone designed specifically for this task, and as such took all of ten seconds to prepare. Spoons were made from dried coconut shells. The plates were made of woven grass, topped with fresh lotus leaves from the nearby creek. The leaves protected the plates from the saucy curries, and when you were finished your meal, you’d discard the leaf into the compost, so that there was literally nothing to wash! I mean.

This day made me take a long hard look at how much stuff I use in the kitchen. Water, electricity, appliances – these women were literally using nothing but things from the earth around them and it made me wonder how we’ve come so far from that connection. Cooking has become so overblown, and it was this experience that reminded me to cook simpler and eat simpler. Get closer to the earth. I don’t have some grand solution, but it’s food for thought.

sambol8

sambol8

I’ll share a few notes on the recipes…
You will likely think I’ve lost my mind when you begin the task of slicing two pounds of onions (#worthit), but I promise you it is the correct amount, and you’ll see that it cooks down to nearly nothing. I tried half this amount my first time and it just simply wasn’t enough. If you’re going to go for this, you may as well make a batch that will last you at least a few meals, right? Fresh curry leaves are a definite preference for this recipe, but I’ve never been able to find them here in Copenhagen so I used dried. They’re not great, but better than nothing. If you don’t want to gnaw on whole spices or curry leaves you can remove them after the seeni sambol is cooked, but it can be a bit of a treasure hunt situation, just sayin’. Once I’ve smashed the cardamom pods, I like to remove the outer skin and just add the inner seeds to the spics mix. I tend to leaves the cloves and curry leaves in since I like those bursts of flavour.

The pol sambol recipe I’ve written here is admittedly, a wimp’s version. I’ll admit that I can only tolerate spice until it begins to overwhelm the other flavours in the food, so mine is strong but still edible on its own. I invite you to go with your instincts on this one and dial up the heat to suit your tastes. If you can find freshly grated coconut (or a fresh coconut that you can grate yourself) by all means use that instead of the desiccated variety! Some versions of pol sambol include curry leaves, but because I only had dried I left them out. If you can find fresh ones, add about a sprig for this recipe, and crush them well before incorporating.

As far as serving these two sensational sambols go, they are pretty much great with All. The. Things. Rice dishes, curries, stews, soups, wraps, sandwiches, salads…I mean it! Once you taste them I’m confident you’ll find infinite uses for them. The first photo is of steamed brown rice and the Kale Mallung recipe that I wrote from the last Sri Lankan post – still a major fav around here. I love this meal for breakfast with a poached egg, lots of seeni sambol and, ahem, lightly sprinkled with the pol sambol.

sambol3



sambol7

A huge thanks to Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts  and Sri Lankan Airlines for making this incredible trip possible!

Show me your sambols on Instagram#MNRsambol

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

 

sambol

 

Being someone who loves a meal with many elements, Sri Lankan food was pretty much my dream come true. Every meal is served with plenty of sides: sauces, chutneys, relishes, and pickles, to make each bite unique and surprising. Sambol is the word for this seemingly endless collection of condiments, and I lost count trying to sample them all in a week.

I believe I mentioned in my previous post about Sri Lanka, how spicy the food is there. Like, blow-your-head-off spicy. And as if the curries themselves weren’t hot enough, the chili-based sambols on the side will certainly commit your taste buds to perplexing levels of pain.

sambol9

sambol9

Pol sambol is the ubiquitous, fiery condiment served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is probably one of the simplest dishes to make, consisting mainly of chili, shredded coconut, chili, lime, and chili – did I mention the chili? Yea. This mix ranges from very spicy to volcanically hot depending on whose table you’re sitting at.

On the second day of the trip, my tongue seeking refuge in something, dare I say it, borderline bland, I discovered one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted – and it wasn’t bland to say the least, just not sweat-inducing. Seeni sambol, a fragrant, Sri Lankan caramelized onion jam, turned out to be incredible on everything from hoppers to curries, and could turn a pretty plain bowl of red rice into something remarkably special. I became totally obsessed with this sambol and it was the very first thing I attempted to make when I came home. I really cannot tell you enough how awesome this stuff is. Do yourself a favour and make a batch soon!

 

sambol2

 

The most memorable experience I had in Sri Lanka was learning to cook traditional recipes with two women in the local village. It was likely one of the most eye-opening culinary experiences I’ve ever had – not only learning from such passionate and experienced cooks, but seeing their traditional kitchen, tools, and techniques really inspired me.

sambol6

sambol6

Take their stove, for example. A large clay bench with large mounds molded into it held the earthenware pots in place, and the heat underneath was adjusted by adding more sticks to the fire, or taking them away. Genius. Above the stove was a large wooden wrack to hang beans, seeds, and herbs for fast drying, which I thought was a brilliant way to take advantage of the residual heat. Ingredients were prepped on the floor, since it’s cooler down there, and also nice to sit while you’re working. The knife to cut veggies was actually attached to a stool, and instead of holding the blade, you hold the vegetables and basically drop them on top, slicing them in the air to fall onto a grass mat. The sambol was made by grinding all the ingredients together on a huge flat stone designed specifically for this task, and as such took all of ten seconds to prepare. Spoons were made from dried coconut shells. The plates were made of woven grass, topped with fresh lotus leaves from the nearby creek. The leaves protected the plates from the saucy curries, and when you were finished your meal, you’d discard the leaf into the compost, so that there was literally nothing to wash! I mean.

This day made me take a long hard look at how much stuff I use in the kitchen. Water, electricity, appliances – these women were literally using nothing but things from the earth around them and it made me wonder how we’ve come so far from that connection. Cooking has become so overblown, and it was this experience that reminded me to cook simpler and eat simpler. Get closer to the earth. I don’t have some grand solution, but it’s food for thought.

sambol8

sambol8

I’ll share a few notes on the recipes…
You will likely think I’ve lost my mind when you begin the task of slicing two pounds of onions (#worthit), but I promise you it is the correct amount, and you’ll see that it cooks down to nearly nothing. I tried half this amount my first time and it just simply wasn’t enough. If you’re going to go for this, you may as well make a batch that will last you at least a few meals, right? Fresh curry leaves are a definite preference for this recipe, but I’ve never been able to find them here in Copenhagen so I used dried. They’re not great, but better than nothing. If you don’t want to gnaw on whole spices or curry leaves you can remove them after the seeni sambol is cooked, but it can be a bit of a treasure hunt situation, just sayin’. Once I’ve smashed the cardamom pods, I like to remove the outer skin and just add the inner seeds to the spics mix. I tend to leaves the cloves and curry leaves in since I like those bursts of flavour.

The pol sambol recipe I’ve written here is admittedly, a wimp’s version. I’ll admit that I can only tolerate spice until it begins to overwhelm the other flavours in the food, so mine is strong but still edible on its own. I invite you to go with your instincts on this one and dial up the heat to suit your tastes. If you can find freshly grated coconut (or a fresh coconut that you can grate yourself) by all means use that instead of the desiccated variety! Some versions of pol sambol include curry leaves, but because I only had dried I left them out. If you can find fresh ones, add about a sprig for this recipe, and crush them well before incorporating.

As far as serving these two sensational sambols go, they are pretty much great with All. The. Things. Rice dishes, curries, stews, soups, wraps, sandwiches, salads…I mean it! Once you taste them I’m confident you’ll find infinite uses for them. The first photo is of steamed brown rice and the Kale Mallung recipe that I wrote from the last Sri Lankan post – still a major fav around here. I love this meal for breakfast with a poached egg, lots of seeni sambol and, ahem, lightly sprinkled with the pol sambol.

 

sambol3

 



sambol7

A huge thanks to Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts  and Sri Lankan Airlines for making this incredible trip possible!

Show me your sambols on Instagram#MNRsambol

Let’s block ads! (Why?)