October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month. It takes on a new meaning for me this year because I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. Getting a mammogram is a hassle but the number one thing you can do for yourselves is to get a yearly mammogram and get it at the same time each year. My cancer was caught early when it was small and before it had spread anywhere. However, my cancer was aggressive and 70% of the cells in the tumor were actively dividing and were highly differentiated. That means it was growing fast. What if I had put off my mammogram?

Make the appointment and get it done.

Turkey & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

From Eating Well Magazine

Ingredients (makes 6 servings)

  • 18 jumbo pasta shells

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups diced zucchini (about 1 zucchini)

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • ½ pound lean ground turkey

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 2 cups no-sugar-added marinara sauce, divided

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)

Preparation (35 minute prep-ready in 1 hour and 30 minutes)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain shells and transfer to a plate.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Whisk together ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, fennel seed, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, salt and ground pepper in a large bowl. Add the turkey mixture and mix well.

  5. Spread 1 cup marinara in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons ricotta mixture into each shell and arrange in the baking dish, seam side up. Top the filled shells with the remaining 1 cup sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.

  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the marinara is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Let the shells rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil, if desired, and serve.

To make ahead: Prepare through Step 5. Wrap baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake frozen shells, covered, until marinara is bubbly 45 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Or, thaw shells in refrigerator overnight and bake as directed in recipe.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 stuffed shells

  • Per serving: 347 calories; 13 g fat(5 g sat); 5 g fiber; 38 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 28 mcg folate; 77 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 886 IU vitamin A; 18 mg vitamin C; 248 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 523 mg sodium; 569 mg potassium

  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Calcium (25% dv)

  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2½

  • Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1½ starch, 1 fat, 1 lean protein, 1 medium-fat protein

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