Want to treat yourself to a night off from cooking or enjoy a quality at-home hot lunch? Freezer meals are great for that. One of my favorite freezer meals is hearty, cheesy stuffed shells. You can also bake some or all of this dish right away.
Using foil pans for freezer meals is convenient because you don’t take your regular dishes out of circulation. You can dispose of the pans when you’re done with the meal, or wash and re-use them a time or two. For this recipe, mini loaf pans are a good size for individual portions, 8-inch small casserole pans work for two servings, and 8 by 8 or 9 by 13 pans are best for larger portions.
For the pasta, if you can’t find jumbo shells, use cut-open manicotti, or lasagna noodles cut the short way and rolled around the filling. To make this recipe gluten-free, check the label on your pasta sauce to make sure it’s gluten-free, and use gluten-free lasagna noodles, such as Tinkyada brown rice noodles.
|Stuffed Shells Freezer Meal|| |
- 1 12-ounce package jumbo shells (for gluten-free, use gluten-free lasagna noodles cut crosswise into halves)
- 2 15-ounce containers (3 1/2 cups) ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 26-ounce jars prepared pasta sauce (vodka sauce is good; Classico or Bove's)
- Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Do not overcook. Place shells on flat surface to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses and spinach. Add eggs, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper, and mix until combined.
- Place a thin layer of sauce in each pan. Fill each shell with 2-3 tablespoons filling. Place shells, filled side down, in pan, allowing 3 to 4 shells per serving. (Small loaf pan, 3 shells; 8-inch small casserole pan, 6-7 shells; 8 by 8 pan, 18-19 shells; 9 x 13 pan, entire recipe). Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
- Cover each pan with foil and then wrap in plastic wrap or place in plastic bag and seal.
- To avoid confusion about what you have stored and to know what to do with it later, it is important that you label your container so the instructions are handy when you are ready to cook your meal. Cut out and/or copy the label and tape to outside of outer wrap. Lay pans flat in freezer. Remove plastic wrap before baking. Bake according to label directions.
(Recipe adapted from relishrelish.com)