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Recipe: Cheese Stuffed Shells with Elk Meat Sauce

When it comes to cooking, I look for easy and delicious. I don't like spending hours in the kitchen. And I definitely don't like buying special ingredients just for one recipe.

Serves 5 (3 shells each)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 15 jumbo shells (you could also use manicotti pasta, but I like shells because they are easier to fill!)

  • 1 lb ground elk (can substitute other ground meat)

  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta

  • 2 tsp basil

  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp garlic

  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese

  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (flavor of your choice)

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Place shells in boiling water and reduce heat to medium. Add a teaspoon of salt to prevent shells from sticking together. Cook for 10 minutes.

Tip! If you boil too hard, the shells will tear.

Brown 1 lb ground meat in a large skillet.

While shells and meat are cooking, mix together ricotta, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Tip! The seasoning measurements above are recommended, but you can increase/decrease to your personal preference and add other seasonings based on your own tastes.

Drain meat. Mix in the jar of spaghetti sauce, reserving ½ cup for later. Simmer meat sauce on low.

Drain shells. Spread the remaining ½ cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Carefully fill shells with ricotta cheese mixture and place shells in casserole dish.

Tip! To make filling easier, use a pasta spoon to hold the shells.

Pour meat sauce over the shells. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Ok to sprinkle some oregano, basil, or parsley on top too!

Bake covered at 350° for 30 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread, salad, or soup. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting elk, deer, turkey, pronghorn and waterfowl. She is a team member at Huntress View, Pro Staff for Browning Trail Cameras and Brand Ambassador for the GoWild app and BaseMap app. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.

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