Fast, easy, and savable dinners. THAT is what the busy holiday season needs. Actually, a few of these tucked away in your freezer are welcome any time of year.

Stuffed shells are just the “fix” for a busy life. Homemade stuffed shells, of course!

Hot, Cheesy, Spicy, and delicious. Tomato sauce is wonderful for masking vegetables, particularly when cooking for children, or picky adults.

In my recipe for stuffed shells, I have shredded zucchini and added to the sauce, but spinach or any other healthy green your picky eater won’t eat, becomes camouflaged, and disappears within this dark rich sauce.


Serves 6

        Onion – 1 large, finely chopped

        Ground Beef – about 2 pounds, depending on the servings

        Salt – 1 tablespoon

        Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon for sautéing the onions

        Cayenne Pepper – 1/8 teaspoon if dried, 1 tablespoon if freshly chopped

        Pepper – ½ teaspoon

        Garlic – 2 cloves crushed

        Oregano – ¼ cup if fresh, 2 tablespoons if dried

        Zucchini – 2 cups, grated or finely chopped

        Tomato sauce – 2 – 24 ounce jars

        Grated Cheese – as much as you like to melt across the top

        Large Pasta Shells – 24 ounces (2 boxes)


Saute onions in olive oil. Add ground beef. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone. Add Salt, and remaining ingredients, (except the cheese and pasta shells). Place lid half on and half off the pot and cook on a slow simmer until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile cook the shells according to directions. Run under cold water and allow to drain.

Place as much of the cooled meat sauce, as you can fit, into the shells, and layer the shells in a baking pan, dish, or casserole dish.

Sprinkle with as much cheese as you prefer. Cover. When ready to serve, pop in a 325 oven and heat just until the cheese has melted.

If this dish has been frozen or refrigerated, allow to become room temperature before placing in oven, and heat (covered) until the internal temperature is hot!

No need to serve veggies on the side, because they are hiding inside the shells!!

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