As I started pulling out the ingredients to put this together, my husband asked "Are you making dinner already?" I answered no, but in all honesty - yes, yes I was!
I not only have dinner ready to bake for tonight, but I also have a second meal for my freezer. Score!!
Sunday afternoons I am away from home and my fellas need to eat lunch while I'm gone. Freezer meals are a great way to keep the meals a little more interesting than *just* ramen noodles or a PB & J sandwich. Freezer meals are also a great way to be prepared for those days or nights that we need to make life a little easier. One less meal to prepare, right?
With this recipe, the frozen Stuffed Shells can be pulled out of the freezer to thaw and then baked for a hot delicious meal your family will enjoy.
1 box, uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 container (24 oz) small curd low-fat cottage cheese
1 (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend (divided)
1 1/2 cups of half-n-half (divided)
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (divided)
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can ( 15 oz) tomato sauce
* Boil pasta shells for 9 minutes in boiling water. Drain thoroughly, and let cool.
* In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, 24 oz container of cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and 3/4 cup of half-n-half. Next add drained spinach, garlic and Italian seasoning to cheese mixture.
* In another mixing bowl, combine spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, 3/4 cup of half-n-half. Divide in half. Reserving 1 cup of the first half of tomato sauce, pour the remainder into the bottom of a prepared freezer safe baking dish.
* Next, use a scoop or large spoon to fill pasta shells with cheese mixture. Once filled, set into tomato sauce mixture in baking dish. When you have filled the needed amount of shells for the first baking dish, cover the shells with the leftover cup of tomato sauce. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and additional Parmesan if desired.
**Repeat the last step for the second dish, going into the freezer. I recommend the dish going into the freezer be covered with foil first, then the lid be placed on the freezer safe baking dish.**
Time to bake!
Thawed shells should bake, covered with foil for 40 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow shells to stand for10 minutes prior to serving.
The Stuffed Shells from the freezer should be thawed in the refrigerator and then set out prior to baking to avoid placing a frozen dish into a hot oven.