“THIS (pointing at his plate), THIS is old school ITALIAN food”

C told me that tonight – for the first time – I’d made real Italian food.

“Um,” I replied, “What about my lasagna?”

“Nope. That’s too fancy.”


“Um, no. You don’t make REAL Italian Meatballs.”

“Well, I make my own homemade PASTA. THAT is real italian food.”

“Yeaaaaaah, I suppose so, but all your recipes are, I dunno, frou-frou. THIS (pointing at his plate), THIS is old school ITALIAN food.”

And it was weight watchers friendly.


Yes. Feel free to clap.

Guess what: serving sizes are HUGE too: two cups. TWO. Feel free to have just one if you’d like, though. I left myself the option of having 1/2 a serving and a portion of bread if I wanted, but then changed my mind and ate the second cup anyway. It was goooooood.

PLEASE NOTE: I used 2 cups of jarred sauce instead of the tomato mix she suggests. This upped the points by 1 point+ per serving, but lowered my fridge-contents. I thought that a fair trade.

PLEASE NOTE NUMERO DOS: The recipe calls for Part-Skim Ricotta and Part-Skim Mozzarella. I had neither on hand. I tallied up the points using sauce instead of tomatoes and using the lo-cal versions of the cheese. Using lo-cal + jarred sauce = 13 points+ for TWO cups. Using the full-fat version + jarred sauce = 16 points+.

Have I bored you enough yet?


Read on dear friends!

REALLY good. No Joke.

REALLY good. No Joke.

Stuffed Shells that turned into a version of Baked Ziti adapted from Secrets of a Skinny Chef

Printable Recipe HERE


1 12-ounce box of pasta shells **I used one 16oz. box of large shells.

2 cups Ricotta cheese

2 cups Baby Spinach, chopped **I used my spinach in my side dish, subbing in 1/4 cup well chopped parsley instead.

2 Egg Whites

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1 28-ouce can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes

1 teaspoon Olive oil

2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar


2 cups Jarred Marinara Sauce *I used Rao’s. Delicious.


2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese



How To:

1- Oven to 350ºF.

2- Whack a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Undercook your pasta by 5 minutes, then drain.

3- While the pasta is cooking, dump your ricotta, spinach or parsley, egg whites, and parmesan into a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

4- If you’re using the tomato melange you’ll place the tomatoes + juices, olive oil, garlic and balsamic in a bowl and either blend with an immersion blender (less messy) or squish with your hands (more messy) until a thick sauce forms. If you’re using jarred sauce…well, open it now.

5- If you’re using those HUGE ASS shells, you’ll fill them all with the ricotta mix now. If you misread the recipe and bought Large Shells instead of the ones the size of a child’s head, you’ll mix them up into the ricotta mix now.

6- If you’re using MEAL SIZED Shells, and they’re all filled and laid out on a casserole dish, now is when you’d drizzle them with your sauce.

Since I had Large Shells *sigh* I mixed the sauce right into the shell/ricotta bowl until well combined. Pour out into a casserole dish.

Top with shredded mozzarella.

7- Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is all melted and the filling is hot.

8- Turn the broiler on and move the pasta up to the top rack. Let it get all crunchy on top and then serve to a happy family.

Shallots make everything taste better

Shallots make everything taste better

Oh – and I served this with a side of spinach, mushrooms and shallots. They were divine.


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