On the Menu This Week

Greek Style Cheeseburgers
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Roasted Cornish Hens with Quinoa and Broccoli

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe of the Week 9/4/09

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Shells

Serves 4
Cooking time 50 minutes: 20 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking
9 points each


  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Grated Part Skim Mozzarella
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 cup Chopped Frozen Spinach
  • 4 oz skinless chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 3/4 cups low fat ricotta
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 1/2 Cups no salt added tomato sauce
  • 12 uncooked jumbo pasta shells


Preheat oven to 350ºF
Cook shells in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Set aside.
Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over bottom of pan and set aside.
For filling, in a large bowl, stir together egg whites, ricotta cheese, chicken, spinach, garlic powder, oregano and basil. Stir in 1/4 cup each of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
To assemble, spoon cheese mixture into shells and place filled shells in a single layer in baking dish. Spread remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake about 30 minutes. Yields 3 shells per serving.

Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (approximate)
Serving Size 3 shells
Calories 447
Total fat 15 g
Saturated fat 8 g
Protein 36 g
Carbohydrates 43 g
Fiber 4 g

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My Plan

I did WeightWatchers once before in 2004-2005. I lost 50 pounds. I gained some back going through my divorce but the good news is I kept off 20 of them until I restarted WeightWatchers in January 2009.

For the first time, I have found a plan that was easy to stick to. Something just felt right this time. Before embarking on WeightWatchers I re-read some books I had found helpful in the middle of my last journey. The books are listed under "Weight Loss" Books on the side bar, and a blog post about them will follow soon. These books helped get me mentally prepared to lose weight and they are the reason I think I am finding losing to be less of a struggle. I am not letting myself get discouraged by small gains and I am seeing far more consistent results.

WeightWatchers gives you a points target based on weight and basic daily activity level. Every food has a points value based on calories, fiber and fat. Then its like a checkbook you start with your daily balance, subtract for foods eaten and add for activity done which can earn you points. Exercise=More Food. Each food point is roughly 50 calories and each activity point is worth roughly 100, I use a heart-rate monitor to calculate my activity points earned.

You also get 35 weekly points to use as you want anytime during the week. For me the most successful both mentally and on the scale is to use most of those points on Saturday night for a splurge and to then stick to my daily points fairly closely the rest of the week. It helps me to know my favourite foods are only a week away if I want them. People can manage the plan however they want but for me this is the most successful. When I'm working out a lot I try to eat some of those activity points as well. Ironically I get much smaller losses the weeks I don't eat those points on Saturday, maybe it shakes up my metabolism, who knows I just know it works

Finally my last key to my plan is attending meetings. It helps keep me accountable and on track.

Weight Loss Slideshow