There’s just something about the flavors of garlic, oregano, cheese, and tomato sauce that really satisfies me. Not only is it delicious the night you make it for dinner, but leftovers and even after it’s been frozen for a month are just as good, if not better. So, these Beefy Cheesy Stuffed Shells are no exception.
I’m not Italian and this recipe is probably not in any way a “traditional” Italian meal, but I don’t care. I love it! My husband loves it. And, what the heck, I’m not tying to compete with anyone on authenticity. I just wanted to make a great tasting meal. So, if you’re like me, these stuffed shells will have your family going back for seconds.
Hopefully, I’ll learn some traditional Italian cooking soon. I’ve been looking into taking an all inclusive cooking vacation and one destination I’m considering is Italy. Wouldn’t that be fantastic! It’s so fun searching the various sites that offer these vacation classes. If you’ve ever been or know anyone that has, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please leave your suggestions in the “Comment” section below.
Like a lot of my recipes, almost all the clean up can be done before you eat. I love that part. It’s no fun to spend an hour cleaning up the kitchen after you’ve eaten your meal and I can never leave dishes in the sink until morning. When I wake up, I hate to see a pile of dirty dishes. I just want to get my coffee and watch the news knowing that nothing needs my immediate attention.
I know, some of you are saying that you wish the same thing, too, because you may have to get kids off to school or yourself out the door for work. But you’re not as old as me either. Would you trade your youth for my relaxing morning. I think not. LOL Enjoy every moment of those hectic mornings.
And I hope you enjoy this recipe, too.
Beefy Cheesy Stuffed Shells | Recipe
(Serves 6-8) (Unless you want 2nds or 3rds)
2 lbs. ground beef
1-2 T. oil (for browning beef)
4-5 c. tomato sauce
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
4 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 12 oz. box jumbo shell noodles
15 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. cubed mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper
Put oil in pan on a medium heat and brown the ground beef.
Once the beef has browned, make a clearing in the middle of the pan and add the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook just until soft, then mix together with beef and remove from heat and let it come to room temperature.
Cook jumbo shell noodles according to package instructions. Slightly under-cooked will be better since they will continue to cook in the oven.
Heat tomato sauce in a sauce pan on medium heat, just to simmering. Add 1 tsp. oregano, sugar, chopped bell pepper, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and salt & pepper. (Note: The bell pepper does not need to cook entirely because it will continue to cook when put in the oven.)
In a large bowl, scramble the egg. Add remaining 1 tsp. or oregano and a couple shakes of salt & pepper. Mix to combine.
Add ricotta cheese to the seasoned egg mixture. Mix well, then add the cooled ground beef and cubed mozzarella cheese. Mix thoroughly.
Hopefully, your cooked jumbo shells are cooled down so they’re easier to handle because now you will be stuffing them with the ricotta/meat mixture. I really stuffed mine full and ended up with leftover jumbo shells. (See below how to store them to make your next meal easier.)
Put several spoonfuls of your tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 11 sheet pan. As you stuff the shells, place them in the sheet pan. Once you finish stuffing all of them, pour all the remaining sauce over the stuffed shells.
Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375° for 45 minutes.
Remove foil. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Instead of just a bell pepper, you can add onions, mushrooms, etc. to the sauce.
- Make with sausage or a mix of sausage and ground beef.
- You can even make it meatless. Just double the ricotta cheese and add an extra egg.
To Store Pasta:
Put cooled pasta is a zip loc plastic baggie. Close bag leaving about 1″ opening and squeeze out as much air as you can. While pressing down on the pasta, close up the baggie before any new air enters. The baggies should be fairly flat and you can layer them in your freezer.
When you want to thaw, either leave on your counter for a couple hours or just add warm water into the bag to soften. Great way to avoid the time cooking pasta for your next meal. Not to mention another pot to clean.
It’s just me and my husband, but when I cook pasta, I cook the entire box and just freeze the extra. It’s especially great for that busy night when you just want to throw together a meal without waiting for the pasta to cook. It also is really helpful if you make and freeze soup, but don’t want your pasta to get soggy. Freeze the soup without the pasta and add the pasta the next time you thaw that soup.
Please leave me any time-saving tips you want to share in the comments below.