Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Jumping on the Meatless Monday Bandwagon


Typically I don’t really like to conform to the latest fad, but eventually I usually “jump on the bandwagon” if it is actually a good idea…like “meatless Mondays”. I have been planning our meals in advance for quite some time now and in an effort to get skinny and healthy again I’ve really tried to make sure we are limiting our red meat consumption, as well as try to have a variety of different foods, which can be challenging. I know Hubby doesn’t want to eat chicken 5 times a week!  I guess another reason why I never considered a “meatless” day is because I love meat & so does Hubby. However, like I said I thought this would be a nice idea for a healthier me (& Hubby gets the benefits too!). I have to admit I was nervous that Hubby wouldn’t go for it, but so far (I’ve only done it two Mondays now) the meals have been a hit with him.

Last night I made 4 cheese stuffed shells with arugula. I know you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound like a good meal to eat to achieve a skinnier body, but with a little tweaking and some fresh seasoning, this turned out to be one heck of a “Slimmed Down Sensation”! This recipe makes 3 servings (1 serving = 3 shells and approx. 2/3 cup of sauce) and one serving is only 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus. It is super tasty and better yet super filling! Usually I get pretty hungry again after dinner and before bed, but these bad boys filled me up for the whole night!

Can’t wait to try some more Meatless Monday Meals!!!

 

Slimmed Down Four Cheese Stuffed Shells with Arugula

(Makes 3 servings; 1 serving = 3 shells + 2/3 cup sauce = 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus)

9 jumbo pasta shells

1 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Filling:

1 cup fat free ricotta cheese

½ oz. parmesan cheese, grated

1 oz. asiago cheese, shredded

1 tsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups arugula, chopped

Sauce:

1 tsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper.

  1. Cook shells according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Make the filling. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic. Cook garlic about 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant and just turning brown. Add the arugula and continue to cook for another minute or two until the arugula becomes just slightly wilted.
  3. In a medium size bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan and asiago cheeses. Add the arugula & garlic mixture and mix well to combine.
  4. Fill the shells with approximately 2 tbsp. of the filling.
  5. Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.
  6. Add remaining ingredients, except for basil and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Add about 1/3 of the sauce to the bottom of an 8×8” glass dish, sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Place the shells in the dish and cover with the remaining sauce.
  9. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree F. preheated oven for 20 minutes. These can be made ahead and refrigerated. If baking from refrigerator cook for 30-40 minutes, or until shells are heated through and sauce is bubbly.
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Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce


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I’m not quite sure if this is an “authentic” marinara sauce, but it’s easy to make & it tastes great (and way better than the kind in a jar). I always let mine simmer for about an hour, but if you’re really crunched for time you could get away with 30 minutes. The best thing to do, however, is to make it the day before…the flavors are just so much more prominent letting it sit for a day. This is nothing too fancy so you can definitely substitute dried herbs for the fresh, just remember to use less of the dried. I’ve done this plenty of times and it still tastes good (fresh herbs are better though!). As for the wine you can use any red wine. Up until tonight I had always used chianti, but today I used a Cabernet that I’d opened but didn’t really like for drinking. It tasted good in the sauce and didn’t taste all that different from when I use the Chianti. Serve over pasta or with whatever your heart desires (used mine for steak strombolis tonight)!

Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
2. Add garlic & onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add wine to pan and allow to reduce by about half.
4. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, parsley & oregano.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for an hour or more. 6. Stir in basil and serve.

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