Meatball Stuffed Shells
This baked pasta dish has all your favorites - meatballs, pasta and sauce!Kids absolutely LOVE this one.
I partnered with Simek's (the best store bought meatballs!) for several social media posts about this recipe and I kindly asked them....can I share it on my blog too? Because this recipe is too good not too! They said yes, of course! As you know I have a tried and true homemade Italian meatball recipe, but like most Moms I'm busy and sometimes I need a shortcut. I absolutely love Simek's. Here is a store locator to see where they can be found close to you. Grab a bag or two! When I approached them about this fun recipe, I honestly hoped they loved the idea as much as me - because I was certain my kids would adore it. What kid doesn't love pasta and meatballs? And this recipe incorporates both in fun ways.
My other stuffed shell recipe ( Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells) has been extremely popular over the years so when I came up with the idea of this one using store bought quality meatballs I thought to myself - I hope this one goes over well too! Because there are so many times when us Moms need some convenience. This dish is easy to prepare - you can stuff the meatballs into the dish frozen straight out of the freezer! No need to thaw. They bake up nicely. And this isn't just a meatball with sauce sitting in the shell - I came up with a quick "cheesy" base for them to sit on. A yummy combo of cottage cheese (can use ricotta cheese if that's more your thing), Parmesan cheese and spices.
See that meatball all nestled and tucked in? They fit perfectly. Set a timer for 30 minutes and get this dish prepped and ready for a busy week ahead. That is what I usually do. I always thank myself later. That 30 minutes of prep saves my sanity when later we are rushing home and all I need to do is grab the pan and stick it in the oven. It gives the kids time to shower from practices and for me to get the house in order a bit for the next day while it's baking.
These stuffed beauties come out bubbly and hot. Anytime I do a baked pasta dish I serve it with garlic bread and a side salad. Always. Why mess with greatness? If you are looking for some new side salads to share with your family, here are a few of our favorites from over the years. Creamy Broccoli SaladShortcut Chopped Caesar SaladSweet Kale Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Meatball Stuffed Shells
- 12 oz 4% cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 T dried minced onion flakes
- 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped or 1 t dried basil
- 12 oz box jumbo shell pasta
- 22 oz bag Simek's Italian meatballs (or any brand)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 32 oz jar marinara sauce
- In a large stockpot bring water to a boil. When boiling add all of the jumbo shells and cook to al dente, around 10 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking mix together the cheese stuffing. In a bowl combine the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and dried herbs. Set aside.
- In a 9x13 baking dish spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan to cover the base.
- To assemble: put a spoonful of the cheese mixture into the cooked shell and top with a meatball. Line them into the dish and continue until finished. Top all the stuffed shells with the remaining marinara. Top with the shredded mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
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