Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stuffed Shells

When Gene and I were stationed overseas, I wasn't doing a whole lot of cooking then.  We were both in our 20's and we were both working hard and playing hard.   There were a few meals that were on the standard rotation. And when I had time to really whip up something yummy, this was one of the recipes I would break out.  Pasta meals are so forgiving. It's hard to mess them up (although, I'm sure a few of us could tell a few stories!), and you can be pretty creative with the added ingredients.  And the funny thing is, my husband is not a fan of pasta - at all.  Whenever Alex and I want spaghetti, Gene will always ask me nicely if I'll make a burger for him.  Or if I make pasta salad, he'll run for the hills or make himself some fried baloney sandwiches.   But he does enjoy lasagna, ravioli and these stuffed shells. Weird, huh? 
Maybe it's all that added cheese in there...
1 package of jumbo pasta shells (you'll need at least 24 jumbo shells)
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
2 cups hot water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 container (16 oz) small curd cottage cheese
1 package (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, divided use
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 egg
dried parsley (optional)

Prepare jumbo shells per package directions.  Drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat. 
Cook until beef is brown and crumbled.  Drain excess grease.
 Stir in water, tomato paste, beef bouillon cubes and oregano. 
Stir and allow to simmer while preparing the shells.
In a medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese, one cup mozzarella, 
parmesan cheese and egg.
 I sprinkle a little dried parsley in this for color but it is optional.
Now begin stuffing your cooked shells. 
About a tablespoon of the cheese mixture will fit into each one.  
You should be able to fit about 24 into your 9x13 baking dish. 
You may have to put some in there horizontally. 
 Pour sauce mixture on top of shells. 
 Cover with aluminum foil
 Bake for about 40-45. Uncover and sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese over the top.  Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread and your favorite salad!
Cook's Notes: Instead of tomato paste and hot water, you can use your favorite spaghetti sauce.


  1. Brandie, this looks fantastic, going to have to try this soon!!!

  2. Comfort food at its finest that's what this is! Pass the plate please!

  3. This looks so good! It's been so long since I made stuffed shells, I'll have to whip some up!

  4. One of my favorites!! I loved stuffed of my comfort foods!

  5. I love stuffed shells. All the flavors of lasagna in a little single shell. All the cheese has to help cover up the pasta taste for your hubby!

  6. Stuffed shells rank right up there with an all-time favorite meal around here. Stuffed with sausage or spinach or cheese, or anything, they're just great comfort food!

  7. Oh, these are a family favorite! I'll have to try your recipe for a new twist. Thanks, Brandie!

  8. We love stuffed shells, but I've never made them - ever! The husband doesn't like pasta nearly as much as I do, but he'll eat it. But he hates leftover pasta. I could eat leftover pasta every day - for breakfast even - but not him. I'm sure he'd love it if I made him your stuffed shells, though. :)

  9. Mmmmmm look at all of that CHEESE! I love it! I have never made stuffed shells before. They look so good!

  10. Oh yea baby..I love this so much, and I do make mine almost the same..Loveeee it!!!

  11. Looks delicious! I'd love it if you'd link this recipe up at A Little Nosh!

  12. I LOVE stuffed shells. My boyfriend is the same way - he doesn't like spaghetti or any types of pasta like that, but you incorporate tons of cheese and he is game!
    haha, thanks for sharing!

  13. Mmmmmm. Love these! And can I just say I really enjoy seeing so many "Great Value" products in your picture?? I love Walmart! I knew we were kindred spirits!!! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper!

    Everyday Mom's Meals

  14. I love these! The more cheese, the better :)

  15. This looks great! I'm new to your blog from Pinterest (Oreo Poke Cake - am baking the yellow cake mix/chocolate pudding version right now and will put some Heath bits on top with maybe some Vanilla flavored Cool Whip just 'cuz). :-) Anyway, I think I'm going to make this up today, put it in a pan in the fridge and bake it tomorrow night or freeze it for later this week! YUM!

  16. Stephanie - that sounds great! So happy to have you here!

  17. Mmm I love stuffed shells like this. You should try taco stuffed shells. You just make taco meat and put cream cheese in it and top it with salsa and shredded cheese, if you like that kind of stuff. It is great!<3

  18. I love your blog! I am visual so your picture of ingredients are sweet!

  19. Made this tonight- we LOVED it!
    Made it all up and stuck it in the fridge while we went to the gym. Threw it in the oven while I showered after getting back- worked out perfectly! Thanks for a DELICIOUS recipe!

  20. I make this a lot but i add Spanish rice to the meat. It's yummy!

  21. You know, I have made many - many stuffed shell recipes, and this is the first with cottage cheese. I've gone all out before with recipes taking an hour to prepare. This one, took only 15 minutes of prep time, and is THE single best recipe for stuffed shells I've made. Thank you for sharing!!!

  22. I am making this tonight for company, don't know if I will need to double it. I will also make the Lazy cookie bars for dessert with ice cream. I made the Ambrosia with my grandaughter (9) last night she is starting to want to help cook in the kitchen. I go to this site all the time the recipes-- have simple ingredients that you can have on hand. Thanks for all the recipes!

    1. Hi Kim! Thank you so very much. That really means so much to hear! Love hearing about kids in the kitchen!! This recipe comfortably serves 4 adults (assuming they eat 3 shells a piece). Hope that helps!

  23. I made this yesterday but used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese and it was so good! my husband and 5 year old son couldn't get enough! Your recipes are this site. Thanks!

  24. love these things but how do I add them to my ziplist?

    1. Hi Jan, just click on one of the blue buttons above that says "Save Recipe" and it will add it to your Ziplist recipe box. :)

  25. Does anyone know how many people this will serve? My husband is in the fire department here in our town, and I am scheduled to cook dinner for them this Wednesday. I would like to make this, I'm just wondering if I need to double or triple this recipe. Thank you for any input!

    1. I would say this serves 4 adults (assuming they eat 3 shells a piece). Hope that helps!

  26. I make this recipe but instead of the tomato paste and all the water I use picante sauce and Include diced green chilies in the sauce for a more Mexican flair

  27. Patricia BlackwoodApril 3, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Hi brandie!
    I am fairly new to this website but this is what I've made so far. I've made the maple glaze carrots, stuffed shells, and baked penne. All of these recipes were great.! I made baked penne and one of the ingredients ask for the kraft cooking cream. I have seen them in the store and have never gotten around to using it and was looking forward to trying it out. Well I get to the store and find out they don't make it anymore so I went to the Internet and type in substitute for… Cooking cream. And I found this website.
    Actually there is another recipe I tried but that turned out horrible. I think I need to go buy that crockpot you were telling me about. I tried the cube steak with gravy. I used my West bend slow cooker that I got in 1993 for a wedding gift. Since I was going to cook the cubesteak for six hours on low -I read the directions for West bend and it suggested to use setting 4 for. Not good. I ended up with very tender steak but when I would try to cut it would keep breaking. For that night we ended up with Chinese take out. I am going to eventually buy one of those oval crockpot and make that cube steak again I will let you know. I am positive that it will be good because the other items I have made from your website has been good. Thank you so much for the ideas. :)


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