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.
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.
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.
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.
Unstuffed Shells Casserole
- 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
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
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.
Add the pasta sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
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.
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.
Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and cover with foil.
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.
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!