A few months ago I decided that I was going to make my life easier and learn how to prepare meals that I could freeze so that on work nights I could just come home and pop them in the oven. I know you can buy frozen meals at the store- but in my head these are both less expensive and healthier. The reality is that I only found one meal that I liked and was easy enough to make. I stumbled upon “Growing Up Geeky’s” 5 Ingredient stuffed shells. I’ll link you to her recipe but I actually have some suggestions and modifications.
– One box jumbo shells
– 2 28oz cans of tomato sauce
– 1 32oz container of ricotta cheese
– 2-3 cups Mozzarella Cheese
– 2 eggs
– Italian seasoning
Total prep time is between 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start a pot of water to boil on the stove. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 32oz ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, and 1/3 of one can on tomato sauce. The original recipe calls for 1 egg but I found that the shell filling was a bit thicker and less runny when I included a second egg. Combine those ingredients until it is mostly smooth (as smooth as it can be). The next step is optional but I folded in a small bit of italian seasoning to taste. This step is purely a matter of preference.
Cook the shells for 7 minutes and then drain. You don’t want the shells to be as soft as pasta you’d normally eat would be because it’s going to absorb the moisture of the filling when it bakes as well.
This recipes normally makes two pans for me (there are two of us eating in this house). The next step is to now use the remaining 2/3s of the first can of tomato sauce to line either one large piece of cookware, or divide it among two. Then you just set out to filing your shells and placing them in the small pool of sauce in the baking dishes. Once all your shells are filled. Use the remaining can of tomato sauce to top. I don’t normally use the whole second can of sauce but it’s a matter of preference.
At this point all that is left is to use the remaining mozzarella cheese to top them off. The original recipe called for only two cups but I don’t feel like that ever fully covers the tops (even used somewhat sparingly) of my shells, so I would suggest a bit more.
Once that is done just cover the dish with tinfoil and cook for 50 minutes. Easy Peasy!
If you want to freeze your second dish, I suggest using a dish with a lid and then covering the outside of the dish again with either tinfoil or saran wrap to prevent freezer burn. I’ve never left ours in the freezer more than a week, so I can’t say how long they would last but it does make a nice 2nd dinner.
Because the ingredients will be frozen I recommend pulling this out for 10-15 minutes before cooking, and cooking it 60 minutes instead of the 50 minutes like was done for the first batch.
What are some of your favorite meals to make and freeze? Have you tried these, do you like them? Did you make any modifications? Please let me know!