Freezer Meal Recipes / Dinner / Easy Italian Unstuffed Shells

Easy Italian Unstuffed Shells

These unstuffed shells are an easy dinner that sings with Italian flavor. Al dente pasta is bathed in a basil parmesan cream and spread between layers of meaty marinara sauce topped with shredded mozzarella for a dish that’s golden, bubbly, and inviting.
12 Servings Meet The Cook Print
Easy Italian Unstuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces Medium Shells
  • 1 ½ cups cook Ground Beef
  • 40 fluid ounces Pasta Sauce
  • 6 ounces soften Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • ½ cups chop Basil, Fresh
  • 1 ½ cups Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Freezer Containers

  • 3 8x8 Baking Pans

Supplies

  • Foils
  • Labels
  • Cooking Sprays

Nutritional Information

  • Not available.

Make It Now Cooking Directions

These directions are for cooking this recipe to serve immediately and NOT to freeze for later.

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, in salted boiling water.
  2. Add cooked beef to pasta sauce; simmer on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove sauce from heat.
  4. Drain pasta.
  5. Whisk cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in large bowl until well blended.
  6. Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.
  7. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom of greased 8×8 baking dishes.
  8. Cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  9. Cover tightly with foil.
  10. Bake at 375F covered, for 30 minutes.
  11. Uncover, then bake another 10-15 minutes.

Freeze For Later Cooking Directions

These directions help you cook or prepare this meal PRIOR to being frozen for serving later (see Serving Day Directions when you are ready to prepare it to eat).

Why would I want to freeze this?

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, in salted boiling water.
  2. Add cooked beef to pasta sauce; simmer on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove sauce from heat.
  4. Drain pasta.
  5. Whisk cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in large bowl until well blended.
  6. Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.
  7. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom indicated number of greased baking pans.
  8. Cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  9. Cover tightly with foil. Label and freeze.

Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

These directions help you cook or reheat this meal AFTER it's been frozen for when you are ready to eat it.

  1. Bake at 375F covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Uncover, then bake another 10-15 minutes.

26 Comments

Join the discussion
  1. I agree, it took all day to make stuffed shells and was exhausted when I was done. I will have to try this one next week. Thank you

    1. I like to stuff shells and have found that using a cookie scoop – sort of like an ice cream scoop but smaller and with an arm that ejects the food – make filling the shells quite easy and the portion in the cookie scoop is just the right size for the jumbo shells.

  2. The picture looks like it’s in a disposable metal pan. Any problems with the tomato sauce and the metal? I usually use glass but I think I might switch to disposable for an event coming up.

  3. First off I have 2 little girls. My eldest might be the pickiest child on the entire planet. She LOVED (as well as inhaled this). I even snuck in some of my fresh fairytale eggplant chopped up in the sauce. Thanks for another great recipe.

  4. Love this recipe! I have one son that prefers lasagna & one son that prefers spaghetti. This was the perfect mix of the two. Super easy to make and made a delicious easy dinner on a busy night. Thanks!

    1. Do you like cottage cheese? That’s always a good substitute or ricotta cheese. Then just add a little italian seasoning to the mix.

    2. I really couldn’t taste the cream cheese spread after it was baked. You could use some alfredo sauce and use less milk.

  5. How is this recipe considered vegetarian when it still incorporates “Meat” because of the sausage and the ground beef which you can always substitute it with the vegetarian types of sausage and ground beef but will it taste the same? And it also incorporates different types of cheeses which are also produced by animals. I don’t get it?

    1. For the vegetarian version you have to access the Vegetarian September 2012 recipe cards as a member. And we use cheese on our vegetarian menus, they are not vegan menus.

      1. Thank You.. How about if you lactose intolerance?
        *************************************************
        I’m sorry I truly want to do this program because I’ve been looking into becoming a vegetarian due to health issues and it has been so hard for me to set menus and learning everything and with my busy schedule this seems like heaven. I was excited. But I was confused with the ingredients to some of the recipes I’ve seen. But thank you for the clarification. I just thought that vegetarians don’t eat cheese either as per what I have read.

  6. Is this recipe in a pie pan in the picture? Does it really feed 12? Making this for my large family and trying to decide if it needs to be doubled. I can’t imagine if it fits into a pie pan, it feeds 12. Thanks,
    Bridgett

  7. I am thinking about making this for a freezer meal exchange with friends. Do you think that one tray would be enough for a family of four? So do you think I could feed two families from one recipe?Thanks so much!!!

    1. This fills two 8×8 pans or one large 9×13 pan. Depending on how big of eaters the kiddos are I think you could be fine with doing two 8×8’s and giving one to each family.

  8. I made this for my family several years ago and finally found the post. I feel like it is different though…I think it used to have specifics of sausage and hamburger and maybe some kind of seasoned cream cheese. Can you let me know the original recipe or help me along in any way? I LOVED it before and want to make it again!!

    1. Hi Nicole! And wow! You have a great memory! We had to go digging to find the original for this recipe, but none the less we found it! https://web.archive.org/web/20120629210952/http://onceamonthmom.com/easy-italian-unstuffed-shells Changes were made to make the recipe even more simple.

      And yes, it looks like Philadelphia Cooking Creme was the original ingredient we switched out. It does look like though Philadelphia doesn’t sell that anymore. However, you can make your own! Here’s how: http://philadelphiacreamcheese.tumblr.com/post/95749686336/miss-our-cooking-cremes-while-the-philadelphia

      Let us know if we can be of further assistance! Many thanks for asking!

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