Stuffed Shells are traditional comfort food. Large pasta shells that have been baked to absolute perfection while being filled with a rich marinara sauce, fresh herbs, and a creamy, cheese-filled filling. They are filling and delicious and have a dinner everyone will enjoy, making them ideal for a weeknight meal.
Ever pondered the process of stuffing shells? It is wonderful and very simple! You already know how much we enjoy frozen meals! The fact that this meal stores well is our favorite aspect of it.
This recipe for Stuffed Shells Freezer Meal is fantastic for so many reasons! It is quite adaptable. Utilize beef sauce if you enjoy meat… Use marinara if not. Use your preferred store-bought sauce or make your own at home. Making it beforehand makes it simple to pop it in the oven later.
How to Freeze Stuffed Shells?
Take things one step at a time as you get ready for your big evening, where you’ll be serving stuffed shells.
- Start with the shells first. If they are to be soft enough for stuffing, they must at least be pre-boiled.
- When they are cool enough to handle, stuff them with the filling of your choice.
- The sauce might get watery after thawing if you decide to add it to the shells at this point. I advise including the sauce just before serving.
- The filled shells can be frozen after they have all been filled.
- The shells can be frozen by placing them on a lined baking sheet and freezing them long enough for the outsides to harden slightly. They won’t stick together in the freezer as a result of this.
- Then, nestle the shells close to one another in the baking dish or a hard-sided freezer container that will be used later.
- Place the lid on top after covering it with plastic or aluminum foil.
BruCrew Life Stuffed Shells Recipe
Stuffed shells are a delicious side dish for any meal. They can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. You can freeze the shells without the cheese and sauce for up to two months. You can also bake them and enjoy them later on. This recipe was first published on March 10, 2020, and last updated on July 27, 2021.
Stuffed shells are easy to make and will impress your guests. Ricotta and fire-roasted tomatoes make the filling incredibly tasty. If you don’t have fire-roasted tomatoes, you can substitute canned tomatoes for one teaspoon of sugar or 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Alternatively, add a sprinkle of garlic and oregano to a store-bought marinara for a homemade taste.
You can also make stuffed shells without meat. You can even freeze them for later cooking. They make a great weeknight dinner.
How to Cook Frozen Stuffed Shells?
Take the shells out of the freezer when you’re ready to serve.
- The cooking time for the shells can be significantly reduced by cooking them straight from frozen or letting them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Any plastic wrap or lids that are not oven-safe should be taken off.
- The shells should be heated all the way through.
- Any leftovers should be consumed right away and kept in the fridge.
Stuffed Shells Recipe
If you’re buying pasta shells, you’ll save a ton of time, and you only have to cook them according to the instructions on the packaging. If you’re going to freeze them, you could undercook them and finish up once you thaw them out.
Once boiled, you can fill them up. The classic recipe calls for lots of cheese:
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 10 oz Mozzarella
- half a cup of grated Parmesan
- One egg
- Basil, oregano, salt, pepper
- pressed garlic cloves
As soon as your shells are stuffed, you can top them with extra mozzarella before throwing them into the oven for about 20 minutes at 350° in a greased pan.
How to Thaw Frozen Stuffed Shells?
Adhere to these instructions to thaw your frozen stuffed shells:
1. Remove the frozen shells from their package, then arrange them on a platter or bowl.
2. Cover them with a wet cloth or paper towel.
3. Thaw the shells for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator with the plate or basin.
4. After the packed shells have been thawed, prepare them as directed in the recipe. Enjoy!
How to Use Up Extra/Leftover Stuffed Shells?
1. To make a casserole, layer the pasta shells with the sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbly.
2. Make them into enchiladas by rolling them in cheese and enchilada sauce, then baking or heating them in the microwave.
3. To make a quick and simple appetizer or side dish, stuff them with a spinach-artichoke mixture.
4. You can serve them as-is for a quick weeknight meal.
5. Freeze them later; you can store them unbaked for several months.
Is it Possible to Freeze Stuffed Shells?
Yes, in a nutshell, whether they are made at home or purchased from a store. Even with their fillings still inside, you can freeze them, though some require special handling. For instance, the most well-liked filling combines spinach and ricotta, but ricotta contains a lot of moisture. Ensure the filling has been completely drained to prevent the shells from becoming soggy when thawed.
The choice is to fully prepare your shells before freezing, which will only require reheating, or prepare them in stages before freezing and complete them once they have defrosted.
Step-by-Step Guide to Freezing Stuffed Shells
- To some extent, the shells must be boiled before you can stuff them. You can decide whether to boil them completely or partially so that all they require is reheating.
- Allow the shells to cool. This shouldn’t require much time. Fill them with the stuffing of your choice once they have cooled.
- You can add the sauce immediately if you’d like, but it’s not a good idea. The sauce may become watery after defrosting. Adding the sauce just before serving the stuffed shells is much preferable. Naturally, you can freeze the homemade sauce you are making simultaneously.
- The shells are then flash-frozen as the next step. They should be frozen until they have slightly hardened after being spread out on a baking sheet that has been lined. To prevent them from sticking together, make sure they are not touching.
- Place the shells side by side in an airtight freezer container made of hard plastic. It is a good idea to wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil before putting the lid on, even though it will have a lid. This provides additional security against air entering the container. While freezer burn is not harmful to your health, it can change the flavor and texture of your food. It won’t be as tasty, for sure.
Defrosting and Cooking Frozen Stuffed Shells
The shells can either be heated directly from the freezer or defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. Either approach will work, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted. Cooking the shells from frozen takes longer. The plastic container must be removed from the shells because it cannot be used in an oven. Pour the sauce over them and place them in an oven-safe container. Heat until the sauce is hot and the shells are thoroughly cooked. The shells are best served right away while they are steaming hot.
What should I Serve with Stuffed Shells?
Here are a few quick suggestions to help you get started if you’re wondering what to serve with stuffed shells for dinner:
- A straightforward green salad dressed with Italian balsamic vinegar.
- French baguette with crust or garlic bread.
- Homemade Breadsticks with 3 Ingredients.
- Garlic Zucchini casserole with parmesan.
- Salad of Marinated Vegetables.
Can you Microwave Stuffed Shells?
You can fit about 20 stuffed shells into a deep dish pie plate, possibly more if you pack them more tightly than I did. Stuff each shell with a soup spoonful of the filling and place it in the casserole. Once heated through, microwave the casserole for 7-8 minutes on HIGH while covering it with a microwave-safe plate or lid.
Should I Defrost Frozen Stuffed Shells before Baking?
Use an aluminum pan and follow the directions above for freezing, but don’t bake. Place in the freezer while foil-covered. Once thawed, bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes, until bubbling and cheese are golden browns; when ready to serve—Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Does Stuffed Manicotti Freeze Well?
Place the cheese mixture inside each manicotti. Spray the dish with nonstick spray before putting the manicotti in it, then cover them with sauce. Wrap the dish in foil and freeze it. When frozen, you can remove it from the container and, if desired, place it in a freezer bag.
How Many Stuffed Shells is a Serving?
How many Stuffed Pasta Shells Per Person? I generally assume about 2-3 shells per person. Larger appetites might like 4, while smaller eaters may prefer 2. This recipe yields about 20-22 stuffed shells with a hearty meat sauce and typically feeds about 6-8 people.
A traditional Italian dish, stuffed shells can be prepared and heated before serving.
Stuffed shells can be reheated in a few different ways; the best one will depend on your available time and the equipment you can access. The microwave is the quickest option if you’re in a hurry.
Reheating in the oven will produce crispy edges and a hot, gooey filling for a more conventional method.