Stuffed Shells

When I was getting married I requested everyone bring their favorite recipe to the showers that were given. Some of our favorite recipes are the ones people brought! This is one of those recipes and I love preparing it. I also love it because I can easily double it and freeze some for another meal.
1 box large pasta shells ( preferred pasta if you just want to “layer”-I’ve used penne on many occasions)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup + 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2-Cook the pasta until tender. Drain.
3-While pasta is cooking brown the hamburger & onions, drain off the grease. Stir in cream cheese and stir to incorporate the cream cheese as it melts (I usually lower the temperature of the eye so that it doesn’t scorch the cream cheese)
4-Once everything is prepared either stuff the shells with a bit of the meat mixture or layer if you are using penne noodles. If layering put the pasta on the bottom and spread the meat mixture on the top.
5-Spread the spaghetti sauce on top of the stuff shells (or the meat mixture if you layered).
6-Sprinkle the cheeses on top. One thing you will find in every recipe I will probably post that has cheese as an ingredient is “I usually add a little more than what the recipe calls for.” I do love cheese.
7-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or until cheese is melted. I usually cover it loosely with some foil until the cheese melts and then take the foil off the last 5 minutes or so to brown it slightly.
This dish freezes well and is great as a leftover.
**If you freeze this I would recommend taking it out of the freezer to thaw out a bit before popping it in the oven to cut down on the baking time that would be required (especially during the summer time-who wants the oven on any longer than it has to be?).
If you let the dish thaw out a bit then it will probably require around 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees to get thoroughly heated through. I just usually check it around 45 minutes and then kind of take it from there. If you start dipping and it’s not quite hot all the way through in some spots, no biggie, you can just pop it in the microwave to warm it completely.


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