Stuffed Shells are super easy to make, and use the same “pot cheese” in other recipes like Baked Ziti and Lasagna. Best of all, this recipe makes enough to either feed a family of 6-8 or a family of 4, TWO times! I made a full batch of this recipe, and got dinner with leftovers and then a whole other dinner worth that I froze four our first course at Christmas Dinner. In our house, at Thanksgiving AND Christmas, there is always an Italian dish served before the traditional Christmas dinner. It’s an Italian Christmas; no one counts calories!
These stuffed shells are filled with three different cheeses and spinach. The red from the spaghetti sauce and the white and green from the cheese and spinach make these stuffed shells extra festive!
Stuffed Shells can be made ahead of time and froze in a single layer on a parchment baking sheet, or even froze in a casserole dish, ready to bake. Stuffed Shells are a great weeknight meal, or even a meal for a friend who just had a baby or needs dinner one night. The recipe will get both of you dinner, and you won’t spend a fortune since you’re using leftover Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
2 cups leftover Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
1 x 12 oz box jumbo shells cooked according to package directions
32 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
1 cup spinach, optional
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – to top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot of salted water, cook jumbo shells according to package directions. Drain in a colander and about 2″ of water to the pot you cooked pasta in. Place strainer over the pot beside your working area. This will keep the shells warm so that they don’t stick together.
While pasta is cooking, either finely chop parsley (and spinach) or run it through a food processor like I did to finely chop.
In a large bowl combine all cheese, eggs, spices and parsley (and spinach) and stir until well combined.
Add 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish – depending on how big it is. We used an 8×8 pan, but this recipe makes enough to fill a 9×13 pan WITH leftovers.
Fill each cooked shell with about 2 tbsp of the cheese filling and place in prepared casserole dish.
Top cheese stuffed shells with remaining spaghetti sauce, then top with shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce starts to bubble a little bit and the cheese is melted and starts to become golden-brown. Remove from heat, let rest 5 minutes, and serve with any leftover spaghetti sauce, warmed up.
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