Cheese Filled Shells


One frozen convenience food I try to keep on hand is this recipe for Cheese-filled Shells. I package them for 2 – if I expect company I can thaw more packages. I love lasagna, but it’s hard to prepare for 2. This recipe solves that problem. It conveniently uses a box of jumbo pasta shells and I only have the assembly mess once for 7 meals. I freeze about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce for each meal for 2 people (those 24 ounce jars make 3 meals), or use a half-pint of home canned sauce. The spinach is optional – we like it, but it wasn’t in the original recipe. Barilla pasta is made in Ames, Iowa, so we use it for this recipe. The filling is also good in homemade pasta rolls. 
Freezer Cheese Filled Shells
12 ounces shell pasta -- Jumbo ( we use Barilla) - about 40 shells
3 Large eggs -- beaten
4 cups Cottage Cheese -- drained
1 pound mozzarella cheese, part skim milk -- shredded
3 ounces Parmesan cheese -- grated
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 pound spinach, frozen -- thawed and squeezed dry (Spinach is optional)
2 quarts Spaghetti Sauce -- (portion and freeze) (7 -8 cups or 56 – 64 ounces)
Thaw spinach and drain in a colandar - squeeze or press out moisture with a potato masher. Drain cottage cheese.
Cook shells 8 minutes in boiling water in 5-6 quart pot. Drain carefully; rinse in cold water, let drain.
Beat eggs, add to remaining ingredients in same pan pasta cooked in. Stir well.
Stuff each shell with about 2 Tbsp. of filling, a #24 scoop level works well.
Lay out on half sheet pan on waxed paper - 7 rows of 6. Freeze 2 hours or until firm. Bag in 7 quart-size freezer bags (2 servings or 6 filled shells) each.
To serve: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. When ready to bake, spoon 2-3 tbsp. spaghetti sauce into individual casserole, top with 3 shells, then divide remaining sauce between dishes, sprinkle with extra parmesan, COVER and bake 25 minutes at 350°. Let stand, covered, 5-10 minutes to absorb liquid.
To serve larger groups: Spread 1 C. spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9x13" pan. Arrange half recipe (18-20) shells in dish. Pour remaining 2 cups sauce over shells. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes, COVERED until last 5 minutes. Entire recipe makes two 13 x 9" pans.
14 servings
Cost Summer 2010: $11.86 per recipe or 85¢ per serving.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 358 Calories; 13g Fat (33.0% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 73mg Cholesterol; 896mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

1 comment:

  1. I love pasta! When I travelled to Argentina it was nearly the only thing I ate. I did some ARGENTINA TOURS and learnt a lot about the culture they have. The thing is that Argentineans are mostly italian descendants and that is why the food is similar to the one people have in Italy.
    Cheers,
    Brooke

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