Unstuffed Shells Casserole

This Unstuffed Shells Casserole is all the flavors of stuffed shells without all the work. This can be made ahead of time and even frozen for an easy dinner. This Unstuffed Shells Casserole is all the flavors of stuffed shells without all the work. This can be made ahead of time and even frozen for an easy dinner. the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

Yesterday was the first day of school for my kids. I take that back. Yesterday, was the first optional day of school for my kids thanks to the eclipse.

The school left it optional which I feel put us in a no-win situation. If we send them to school we’re the worst parents ever and risk our kids burning their retinas getiing off the bus and accidentally looking at the sun.

If we don’t send our kids, they miss out on the first day of school! They feel behind and have FOMO that they missed out.

This Unstuffed Shells Casserole is all the flavors of stuffed shells without all the work. This can be made ahead of time and even frozen for an easy dinner. the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

I wish the school would’ve just made an executive decision (what’s this agency you speak of) and called it one way or another.

We sent them. They wanted to go and we wanted them to go.

Not without a lengthy discussion (and videos) about not looking at the sun. Which terrified the dickens out of all of them.

Sometimes a healthy dose of fear is what good parenting calls for. In my opinion.

I grew up on casseroles and although sometimes there’s a bad association with them, they have their time and place.

I personally love casseroles (hello, I’m feeding an army and the neighborhood) and especially if they can be made ahead of time.

Have you ever made stuffed shells? I love them. I love these Pizza Stuffed Shells and these Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells.

But you know what’s way better than stuffed shells? Unstuffed shells. Yep, half the work, all the flavor. You basically just stir the creamy filling together with the shells and then layer pasta sauce. Soooo easy. Love, love, love.

4.86 from 7 votes
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Unstuffed Shells Casserole
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 4 cups medium or large pasta shells, uncooked
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.

  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef. Drain. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 

  3. Add the pasta sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes. 

  4. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, ricotta, parmesan cheese, basil, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. mix until combined well. Stir in the cooked pasta shells.

  5. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer the pasta shell mixture on top followed with a layer of the remaining meat sauce. 

  6. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. 

  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 40-45 minutes removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle fresh basil on top for garnish if desired.

Recipe Notes

This can be prepared a day ahead of time and baked the next day.

Source: idea inspired from Kraft. Shell filling and sauce from me!

This Unstuffed Shells Casserole is all the flavors of stuffed shells without all the work. This can be made ahead of time and even frozen for an easy dinner. the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

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Comments

  1. This looks amazing! Perfect weeknight meal for the fall!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  2. Shawnna Griffin says:

    hey girl- this looks oh so good!

  3. Very easy and yummy dinner! I love that you use the same cheeses that I do for the cheese filling. It’s a family favorite in this house.

  4. This looks great, Christy! Both my husband & I are teachers getting ready to head back to school, along with our kindergartner & 2nd grader, in a couple of weeks. This will most definitely become part of the dinner rotation. I’m a big fan of meals I can make ahead, freeze, and cook, especially when trying to get back into the beginning of the year swing of things. I love “deconstructed” meals like this. My mom makes unstuffed stuffed cabbage. It is so simple & so delicious. Thanks for all you do! 🙂

  5. Great minds think alike, lol. This is so similar to a casserole I’ve been making for close to 45 years. The only differences I see are that I used homemade sauce, mozzarella instead of cream cheese, and more mozzarella between each layer as well as on top. We even use almost the same seasonings, lol. Oh, and I used smaller shells because our local grocery store didn’t carry the big ones. The ones I used were about a half inch across after they were cooked. They were the biggest our store carried ’til the late 80’s. I’m gonna try using the cream cheese next time I make mine.

  6. Wow! I made this last night for dinner. We loved it. I used light cream cheese and part skim ricotta to save calories. It was so good. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers

  7. You knocked it out of the park with this recipe! It is SO GOOD, and so much easier than stuffing shells. Thank you!

  8. Do u think I can use cottege cheese instead of ricotta cheese? I just cant seem to like ricotta….lol. I have tried and tried!

  9. I would love to make this into a freezer meal…at what step do you freeze??

  10. Ellen Harrison says:

    I made this for supper tonight. It was sensational. I had to make one change, though. I forgot to add ricotta cheese to my grocery list, but I did have sour cream. I made the recipe exactly as it is written, except I used 1 cup sour cream in place of the ricotta. It tasted yucky in the bowl, but once it baked, it was sensational. No one would know that I made that substitution! This dish is much better than anything I could have ordered at a good Italian restaurant! And a whole lot cheaper.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  11. I made this tonight and it came out great! I’m really not sure why I’m so surprised, but it tasted amazing! Thanks for the recipe! It was wonderful!