Ben and I sank our teeth into one of our favorite dinners tonight – Stuffed Shells! Stuffed Shells are the epitome of comfort food, and the fact that they can be made ahead of time makes them that much better. They’re surprisingly easy too!

Start by adding a box of jumbo shells to a large pot of salted, boiling water. You’ll need 25 shells.


Stir the shells often as they tend to stick to the bottom of the pot more than regular pasta. They also like to snuggle up all into each other, so separate with a fork if you find any frisky couples. Reserve 1/3 cup cooking water, then drain the shells and return to the pot.


Meanwhile, brown 1lb lean ground beef in a pot next door. Tip: I use a potato masher to get my ground beef uniformly crumbled. Works every time!

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After draining the beef, return it to the pot and add in parmesan cheese, an egg, seasonings,

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mozzarella cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir everything up until it’s well combined.

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Next, turn your attention to the marinara sauce. Per usual, I used Gino’s. 


Layer about 1/3 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.


Next, take a shell and spoon in enough ground beef mixture to fill about 3/4 of the way full.

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Line it up in the baking dish.


Repeat with the remaining ground beef filling and shells. I got a total of 24 shells.


Top the shells with the remaining marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. At this point, you could cover the dish with foil, place it in the refrigerator and bake a day later, or cover and bake immediately for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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Scoop onto plates then serve! I hope you love these delectable Stuffed Shells that are make ahead too! Enjoy!

Stuffed Shells


1 box jumbo shells (you’ll need ~25 shells)
1 lb lean ground beef
garlic salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning to taste
1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
16 oz marinara sauce


  1. Cook shells according to package direction. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water, drain the rest and set aside.
  2. Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain and return to the pot. Stir in seasonings, reserved pasta cooking water, parmesan cheese, egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  3. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. Spoon the beef mixture into the cooked shells until full, then lay into the dish. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. (If you are making ahead of time, cover dish with foil at this point and refrigerate.)
  4. Bake, loosely covered in foil, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove foil and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is golden brown.