Freezer Meal Recipes: Cheesy Stuffed Shells

The Best Stuffed Shells Recipe!

If you haven’t made stuffed shells like these yet, you need to try them out as soon as possible! This is freezer meal is so good, it is even worthy of special occasions.

4-cheese stuffed shells

There are 5 ladies in my neighborhood that are going to have babies during the next month! Of course, we are all wondering if there really is something in the water. Anyway, I am making a bunch of these stuffed shells freezer meals this weekend in order to have an awesome meal to give to each of them when the time comes. I also participate in a freezer meal group and this meal worked out great for that.

Of course, these cheesy stuffed shells are wonderful without freezing too! Delicious for an everyday meal, Sunday dinner, to serve to guests, or even for a special occasion.

easy red sauce for stuffed shells

All of these pictures are from the last time I made this for my freezer group. I made 6 8×8 pans. Each 8×8 holds 12 shells and serves about 6 people.

The sauce is from scratch, but is super simple and inexpensive to make. I actually simmered up my sauce the night before because I had a few extra minutes at that time.

cheesy stuffed shells freezer meal in bulk

So close, but not quite. I tried to get all of the filling into my 4-quart mixing bowl, but it just didn’t fit. I transfered it all to a slightly larger bowl to finish mixing it together. So, if you’re making the 6 8×8 pans, like I did, be sure to use a bowl larger than 4 quarts for the filling, or you can try splitting it between two bowls.

bulk freezer meal stuffed shells

Look at all of those beautiful shells! I had about 9 shells leftover from the two 12-ounce boxes of shells that I cooked. The filling and sauce are just the right amounts for the 6 8×8 pans though. And stuffing the shells was actually super easy. It didn’t take very long at all. Easier and faster to make than manicotti!

stuffed shells freezer meal

There you go. A delicious freezer meal that everyone will love!

Freezer Meal Recipes: Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Rating: 51

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 8x8 pan serves about 6

Serving Size: 2 shells

Freezer Meal Recipes: Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

    1 9x13 Pan - 24 Shells
    Sauce:
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Filling & Shells:
  • 24 jumbo pasta shells (about 3/4 of 12-ounce box)
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 6 8x8 Pans - 72 Shells
    Sauce:
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Filling & Shells:
  • 2 (12-ounce) boxes jumbo pasta shells
  • 48 ounces cottage cheese
  • 45 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 25-30 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 18 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping

Instructions

  1. For the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  2. While the sauce simmers, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta shells al dente according to package directions. Drain and immediately place them in an even layer on paper towels or parchment.

  3. For the filling, in a large bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and basil. Add the spinach and mix until combined. Stir in the Parmesan and mozzarella.

  4. Lightly grease your pan(s) with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  5. Spoon about half of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan(s) and spread evenly. Fill each pasta shell with an even amount of the filling (a little less than 1/4 cup per shell) and place the shells on top of the sauce in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top of the shells.

  6. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the shells sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

  7. Preparing for the Freezer:
  8. Before baking, cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil. Label and freeze. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  9. Prepare after Freezing:
  10. Remove plastic wrap and replace the foil cover. To bake from frozen, preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15-30 more minutes, until bubbly and warmed through.
https://fabulesslyfrugal.com/freezer-meal-recipes-cheesy-stuffed-shells/

Recipe from MelsKitchenCafe.

oxo measuring cups

OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Measuring Cup Set

Learn more about Freezer Meal Cooking:

 

Comments

  • I thankyou for sharing! Love pasta dishes!

  • whitney

    I read that noodles dont freeze well, often turn out soggy. How does this recipe hold up after frozen? Has anyone tried making the stuffed shell portion and freezing it, then adding sauce and cheese when ready to bake? Expecting mama, looking to stock up enough to feed my bottomless pit hubby and myself for a few weeks while we adjust to baby. Any tips are helpful!

    • Melanie

      I have frozen this recipe and few other penne pasta casserole recipes with great success. I actually made them for a freezer group. Everyone loved it! The noodles don’t seem mushy as long as they are not overcooked in the first place. Cook the noodles to al dente, so they are still firm.
      I haven’t tried making it any other way than the recipe.
      Good thinking on stocking up on the freezer meals! You won’t regret doing that!

  • Vanessa

    These turned out amazing!!

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