May 8, 2012

Freezer Friendly Meals- The Classic

This recipe for Stuffed Shells, Giada Style is the most searched for recipe on this blog (hmmm, I hope that has to do with the yumminess of the food, not the fact that I posted pictures of myself with gratuitous cleavage).

Adapted from here


  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well drained)
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 cups marina (store bought is fine, but I like to add some fresh basil and garlic)
  • 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add the artichoke hearts and spinach and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marina sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full. I  normally get three 8x8 baking dishes full.
  •  Drizzle the remaining marina sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
  • To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

This is my go to meal to bring new mamas.  It's nutritious, yet comfort food.  It makes 3 8x8 pans.  I stick one in the freezer for my family, then the other two are ready to be delivered.  It's super nice to have them in separate dishes, so the new mama can freeze one to pull out when she goes back to work and forgets how to get dinner on the table (not that I have done that at least twice a week the last month, or anything of the sort).  Plus it means you are not eating leftovers for days upon end.

A nice green salad, bottle of dressing, garlic bread, and brownies make it a feast!

This freezes exceptionally well, and one pan is the perfect size for a family of two adults and two children, or two adults with leftovers.  Enjoy!


  1. I love those shells! I made a few trays of them for our freezer to eat after B was born. Unfortunately, the onions and garlic (I assume they were the culprits anyhow) upset B's tummy and Brian had to eat the remaining trays of shells himself. I don't think he minded though. :)

  2. I make these all the time! They are great!


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