Stuffed pasta shells supply an elegant dinner. You can get dinner on the table quickly if you prepare the shells ahead of time and freeze them until you need them. Pasta can become overly soft during the freezing and thawing process, but undercooking it slightly before you freeze helps it retain its quality. Next time you make a batch of stuffed shells, freeze a few extras so you have a quick dinner for a busy evening.
Boil the shells for seven minutes, so they are softening but still slightly firm, stirring occasionally. Drain and set the shells in a greased baking pan. Stuff with your preferred cheese, meat or vegetable mixture.
Pour your desired sauce over the top of the shells. Cool the shells uncovered in the refrigerator until they reach an internal temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wrap the pan in a double layer of plastic wrap. Slide the entire baking sheet into a zip-top freezer bag and label the bag with the contents and date.
Store the stuffed shells in a 0-degree F freezer for up to two months. Thaw the shells in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking.
Pour an additional ¼ to ½ cup of sauce over the shells before baking. Sprinkle cheese on top, if desired. Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees, or until the shells reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
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- Use disposable aluminum pans for freezing, or line your baking dish with foil. After the shells freeze, lift the foil from the baking pan and package it in a zip-top bag. You can set the foil package of shells back in the baking pan when you're ready to cook the meal.
- Only freeze the shells once. Leftovers spoil quickly after reheating so it's best to thaw and serve only the amount that you can consume in a single meal.
Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.