When life gets busy at the swamp I like to make a few freezer meals to have on hand. Although I do enjoy to cook sometimes it is just not possible for me to have the time to dedicate to cooking a ‘from scratch’ meal. This way I always have a meal on hand and I won’t be as tempted to go get fast food. Lets face it sometimes that still will win out over these meals.
Everyone these days have so much on their plate. I have a household to run, homeschooling, and a garden that requires sometime. If I have been outside in the garden all day the best thing is to be able to throw in a crock pot something or throw it in the oven and let it go. I only have a small amount of freezer space so I used these small tins from the Dollar Tree. It allowed me to get them into the freezer without having to rearrange it. Wulf and I’s children are of a small age and they don’t eat nearly as much at Wulf and I. It is also to be said that I usually make a salad or bread with the meal.
If I was to be one hundred percent honest this isn’t the kids favorite out of the freezer meals but momma was craving it so….here we are. This isn’t a single portion but its not a portion for a family of five. If you use those tins it will be somewhere in between. You do you! If you want to use it for work then put it into plastic containers to heat and eat. Your kids love stuffed shells? Make a pan of it.
This recipe makes four tins of stuffed shells. I still had pasta and filling left but no sauce. I got creative and added a jar of alfredo sauce to squeeze out five meals. How do you get creative with your leftovers? Let me know!
In a semi-large bowl mix together 32 ounce container of Ricotta cheese or Cottage cheese if you prefer. Then we add our cheeses. I had some cheese left over from some meals so I added that to it. I added 1 pound of mozzarella, 1 cup of Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of Cheddar. If you want to make yours less cheesy or if you enjoy other cheese then do it! All you really need is the parmesan and mozzarella.
The seasonings are as follows 1-2 tablespoon of Garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of Onion powder, 3 tablespoon of Italian seasoning,2 tablespoons of Parsley, 1-2 teaspoon of Black Pepper, 2 teaspoons of Salt. Keep in mind this is a large batch of cheese mix and to taste as you go to get the correct ratios for your families taste.
Did you know that I absolutely adore my pressure cooker? It has never failed me much except for vegetables. I can’t seem to get the time just right and it always makes mush. In a perfect world I would defrost all of the meat and have everything nice and ready but let us be honest. My 1 pound of sausage and 1 pound of hamburger was rock solid. I defiantly could have cooked them on the stove top frozen or not but I just didn’t want to stand there and Will was getting sleepy so into the pressure cooker it went with about a 1/2 cup of water for 30 minute of high pressure. (Remember to set that nob to sealing before walking away!!)
You could also leave out the meat all together but our smithy here on the blog prefers a meat sauce with his stuffed shells. I allowed the pressure cooker to natural release for 15 minutes then I drained the water and thrown the meat back into the pressure cooker insert. I set my pressure cooker to sauté and browned the meat because it wasn’t completely cooked. It needed probably a additional 10 minutes to be completely cooked threw but it was defrosted! I added in a whole onion diced and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. I mixed it until the onions where translucent and the meat was cooked threw. I poured 2- 24 ounce jars of spaghetti sauce.
Lay out the pans. I started with two pans and poured in about 1/3 cup of your spaghetti sauce in the bottom before you start putting the cheese mixture into the cooked jumbo pasta shells. Layer your jumbo shells until you run out of room then top with spaghetti sauce. If you have ran out of cheese then you can easily stop here and add a note to yourself to top with cheese before putting in the oven.
I had some shredded cheese in the freezer that is why my cheese is a bit clumpy but it didn’t affect how it cooked up. I topped with some parsley to be fancy. When you get the dollar store tins some come with lids. I put those shinny side down and then I wrap with more tin foil and plastic wrap to make sure there is no leaking or issues with freezer burn. On the paper you want to write the date, cooking instructions, and if you need to top with cheese. Then once you wrap your food write what it is with the date on the plastic wrap. Don’t assume you will remember what it is, trust me.
Why yes I did write the wrong date on one of my packages. The cooking instructions I would write would be remove paper and cook for 350F until cooked threw and cheese has been melted. Remember that for save eating your food needs to reach a internal temperature of 165F. If thawed before cooking then Id say 20 minutes but frozen I would wrap the top in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove for the last 10 minutes to brown the cheese.
- 1 box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
- 1 Lb Ground Beef
- 1 Lb ground pork sausage
- 1 Onion (Minced)
- 1 Tbsp Garlic (Minced)
- 2 Jars of 24 oz Spaghetti Sauce
- 32 oz. Ricotta Cheese
- 1lb Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded)
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
- 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
- 3 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp dried Parsley
- 1-2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1-2 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tsp Black Pepper and Salt
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Test the cheese mixture for seasoning flavor. Boil your noodles until they are almost done but not quite. In a pot brown your ground beef and sausage. Once done add your onions and garlic and cook until onions becomes translucent. Pour into the pot two jars of spaghetti sauce. In your pan pour 1/3 cup of sauce on the bottom and fill your shells with the cheese then place it on the bottom of the pan. Top with sauce and more mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 350F until cheese has melted and it reaches a internal temperature of 168F.
If freezing wrap with tin foil, add your date and cooking instructions, and then wrap in plastic wrap. Enjoy within 3 months.