Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stuffed Shells (Freezer Meal)

We love this freezer meal! It has very simple ingredients but really tastes great and is an awesome freezer meal that reheats so well. I think I originally got this recipe from my friend Stacey. We've been in 2  freezer meal swaps together in 2 different states! I make these stuffed shells often because it's a great standby meal, you can cook the shells from frozen if you need to, and well it's just yummy.

Stuffed Shells (Freezer Meal)

1 package of jumbo shells (40)
4 cups or 2 lbs small curd cottage cheese (or ricotta)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan
2 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups jarred spaghetti sauce (about a 28 oz jar)

Cook jumbo shells for half the recommended time on the package, until just limp. Drain and cool in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

Combine cheeses, eggs, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. To fill the shells I've found the easiest way is to use a standard size cookie scoop and place one scoop in each shell. Lay stuffed shells back on wax paper covered cookie sheets and freeze. Once shells are frozen put into ziplock bags (2 bags with 20 shells in each is a good way to portion it out). Put 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce into 2, quart size bags and freeze with the bags of stuffed shells.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw shells and spaghetti sauce in the fridge overnight. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cups sauce on the bottom of the dish. Arrange shells on top of sauce and pour remaining sauce evenly over the shells. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover and if desired sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan; return to oven for a few minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven and allow to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

*To cook from frozen: knead spaghetti sauce bag under hot water until it thaws enough to pour. Follow directions as above (just using frozen shells instead of thawed) and increase cooking time to 1 hour.

**This recipe either makes 1 or 2 meals depending on your family size. I do 20 shells in a 9x13 pan with 1 1/2 cups of sauce for my family of 5 (but I have 2 young children who don't eat a whole lot).


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