Stuffed Shells + How To Turn Into A Freezer Meal

Dinner in 30 minutes?  Yes please! These classic Stuffed Shells make a great weeknight dinner and can be on the table in 30 minutes!  Jumbo shells are stuffed with a mix of three cheeses and topped with homemade Spaghetti Sauce…in other words, pure comfort food!

I originally shared a recipe for Stuffed Shells back in 2015.  Back then I mentioned that Spaghetti Sauce was a staple in our house, and if it isn’t in the fridge, there is some in the freezer.

Stuffed Shells is one of the easiest recipes to make, and it’s even something that kids can help out with.  Better yet, they can be made ahead of time and turned into a freezer meal!

I like to add finely chopped spinach to my stuffed shells.  It looks just like the basil and parsley already in the cheese filling, and adds a little more nutrition.  And, since it’s mixed into cheese and smothered in spaghetti sauce, your picky eaters won’t even know that it’s there!

Since 2015, I have changed a couple things about this recipe, and the main one being how I cook the shells once they are stuffed.  Originally, I used a 9×9 pan, and baked the shells in that.  Now, I used a baking sheet to cook the shells.  By using the baking sheet, the shells get a little more crisp around the edges.  I like the extra little bit of crunch this gives the shells once baked.  In addition to the baking dish, the ratio of cheeses that I use now is a little different and instead of cooking the shells ‘al dente’, I cook them even a little less.  The cook time on the box of shells calls for 9 minutes.  I like to cook mine for 7-8.  Undercooking them makes them easier to stuff, and they finish cooking in the oven without getting mushy.  Change is good because if you thought the shells were good before, just wait until you try this newly updated version!

In the past 4 years, I have also figured out a much easier way to fill the shells – mess free!  How?  A ziplock bag (gallon or quart size, based on how many shells you’re making)!  Once you mix up the filling, put it in a ziplock bag, and seal.  Cut a corner off of the ziplock bag, and use it to pipe in the filling!  This has saved me so much time.  Especially when I make extra to freeze, and I am filling 50-60 shells at a time.

Stuffed Shells is one of my go-to recipes for when guests are coming over, or to bring to a friend when they need dinner.  It’s one of the easiest recipes to throw together last minute, and everyone loves it.

How To Make Stuffed Shells A Freezer Meal

Turning Stuffed Shells into a freezer meal is just about as easy as making them!  To turn this recipe into a freezer meal, start by preparing stuffed shells according to recipe directions (boiling shells in salted water for 7 minutes and filling with cheese mixture) and placing filled shells in a single layer, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Put the baking sheet in your freezer, and let shells freeze completely.  This may take overnight.  Once frozen, add shells to a labeled ziplock bag or tupperware container.

To reheat shells from frozen, cover the bottom of a sheet pan with spaghetti sauce.  Place stuffed shells in a single layer, and top with spaghetti sauce and cheese.  Cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil, and continue baking an addition 15-20 minutes, or until the shells are warm throughout and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.

Category, , DifficultyBeginner

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time15 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time30 mins

 3 cups spaghetti sauce
 1 box jumbo shells
For Filling
 4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
 ½ cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
 2 eggs
 3 tbsp parsley, minced
 2 tbsp basil, minced
 2 tsp salt
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 cup spinach, chopped (optional)
For Topping
 1 cup shredded mozzarella
 ½ cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese

1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a sheet pan with spaghetti sauce and set aside.

2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook shells for 7 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

3

While shells are cooking, make filling. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag or to a ziplock bag.

In a separate small bowl, mix mozzarella and parmesan for topping.

4

Fill shells. Cut the tip off of ziplock bag, and fill, by squeezing about 2 tbsp of the cheese mixture into shell like a piping bag, or use a spoon and fill shells. Place filled shells in a single layer on prepared sheet pan.

5

Top shells with sauce and then parmesan/mozzarella mixture.

6

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce being to bubble, and the cheese is melted and starts to become bubbly. Remove from oven, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with extra warmed spaghetti sauce and top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Ingredients

 3 cups spaghetti sauce
 1 box jumbo shells
For Filling
 4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
 ½ cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
 2 eggs
 3 tbsp parsley, minced
 2 tbsp basil, minced
 2 tsp salt
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 cup spinach, chopped (optional)
For Topping
 1 cup shredded mozzarella
 ½ cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a sheet pan with spaghetti sauce and set aside.

2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook shells for 7 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

3

While shells are cooking, make filling. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag or to a ziplock bag.

In a separate small bowl, mix mozzarella and parmesan for topping.

4

Fill shells. Cut the tip off of ziplock bag, and fill, by squeezing about 2 tbsp of the cheese mixture into shell like a piping bag, or use a spoon and fill shells. Place filled shells in a single layer on prepared sheet pan.

5

Top shells with sauce and then parmesan/mozzarella mixture.

6

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce being to bubble, and the cheese is melted and starts to become bubbly. Remove from oven, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with extra warmed spaghetti sauce and top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Stuffed Shells

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