Stuffed Shells Freezer Meal for the Meal Prep Win
Why make a stuffed shells freezer meal? There are a lot of reasons why you might want to utilize a freezer meal. Maybe you like to batch cook and freeze some of it for later, just to make life easier for future you. Maybe you’re preparing for a new baby and you know those first few weeks will be chaos. Or maybe you or a loved one is going through a medical emergency or chronic illness that makes cooking difficult.
If you’re looking for a filling, vegetarian recipe that works great as a freezer meal, look no further. Stuffed shells are a tasty way to do the work up front and enjoy the bounty of your labor later. There are two ways you can make this. You can assemble completely into a casserole and all you have to do is throw it in the oven when you’re ready.
Alternatively, you could also fill the shells with the ricotta mixture and then freeze (as shown above). Once the shells are completely frozen, you can throw them all into a gallon bag and return to the freezer. When you are ready to eat some delicious stuffed shells, just pull out a jar of marinara from the pantry, some shredded cheese from the fridge, then assemble your casserole and bake.
Stuffed Shells Freezer Meal
- 2 disposable casserole dishes (9x9 or similar)
- 1 zip top gallon bag
- 1 box large shells
- 20 oz spinach frozen
- 4 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp basil dried
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt kosher
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 jars marinara
- 2 cups mozzarella shredded
- Cook pasta according to package directions until just cooked al dente. Drain and let cool.
- Meanwhile, heat spinach in the microwave until fully thawed. Let cool and squeeze out extra moisture by squeezing in a clean towel or placing in a fine mesh sieve and pushing with back of spoon.
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and spinach. Mix until well combined.
- Spoon ricotta mixture into a gallon size zip top bag. Cut off a corner of the bag so the mixture can be squeezed through.
- Add about half a jar of marinara to the bottom of each disposable casserole dish.
- Take each shell and fill with ricotta mixture, and place in the casserole dish. Once all the pasta is filled, cover with remaining sauce, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Cover each dish then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. We want it to be well protected to avoid freezer burn or picking up flavors from surrounding items in freezer.
- When ready to cook, you can let it thaw or place directly into the oven (after removing plastic wrap and foil, then covering with a single piece of foil). Add about an hour of time if cooking from frozen. If thawed, cook at 350 degrees until heated through and bubbly, about 45-50 minutes.
- Alternatively, you could fill each shell with ricotta mixture then freeze until solid on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Place shells in freezer bag and squeeze out remaining air. When ready to cook, remove from freezer and build like we did above (marinara on bottom and top, then covered with cheese). You will need to increase the cooking time if cooking. from frozen.
Looking for more freezer-worthy meals?
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.