stuffed shells (recipe)

Stuffed shells is one of those recipes that comes out looking like it took tons of time and attention, when in reality it’s so simple to make.  Even better, you can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to pop it in the oven.  Plus, you have a lot of freedom with what you want to put in your shells–personally I’m just a cheesy gal so I like to stuff them with mozzarella and Parmesan, plus some spinach. You can’t even taste the greens but they add so much nutrition to an otherwise indulgent meal.

Now that winter’s right around the corner, bookmark this for your next night in.

First, start off with your ingredients:



  • 1 box of jumbo pasta shells OR manicotti (I find shells to be a lot easier to work with)
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (packed) cups fresh spinach leaves (approximately 1/2 a standard bag that you find at the grocery store)
  • 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk (optional)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (I always end up using more because I love lots of sauce)
  • pinch of salt/pepper

Before you start the filling, cook the shells/manicotti according to directions on the package.  It’s always easier to stuff shells if they’re cooled off when you start to work with them.  Set aside. Preheat your oven to 375.

First, start by mincing your garlic.


Once your garlic is ready, heat up the olive oil in a medium pan. Wait for the oil to be hot before adding the garlic. Stir the garlic around in the pan for about 30 seconds.  Add the spinach and let it cook down in the pan, about 1 minute.


Set aside the garlic/spinach mixture.

In a medium bowl mix together your three cheeses.  Add a pinch of salt/pepper to the bowl and help it all come together by adding your egg and 1 tbsp milk (optional–only if it seems too thick).


Once your egg is stirred in (30 seconds to 1 minute), add the spinach to the cheese until it’s all combined.  Now your filling for the shells is complete!


Next, pour 1 cup of marinara sauce along the bottom of a 13×9 glass pan.

Take your shells and carefully fill each one with the cheese/spinach mix. There’s no real method for this except that if you use too much filling, you’ll run out of shells pretty fast. Fill the shells so that they still close, but just barely.

Place each shell in the pan in lines so the shells don’t turn over while cooking. Cover with the rest of your marinara sauce (1 cup or more, your preference).  Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, take off the aluminum foil and sprinkle your shells with more cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, or both!) Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes–just don’t let the cheese burn!



It’s a delicious dinner that all comes together in 30 minutes! You can’t beat that.



  • What’s your favorite cold weather meal?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s