Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy beef and shells is a hearty combination of beef, tomatoes and pasta shells that cooks up in one skillet and is guaranteed to hit the spot!

Creamy Beef and Shells
Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy Beef and Shells


2 tbsp olive oil, divided

½ lb chuck beef, cut into 1” cubes

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)

1¼ cup water, divided

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup red wine

1 red bell pepper, cut into ½ slices

1 green bell pepper, cut into ½ slices

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

¾ tsp Italian seasoning

⅓ cup tomato paste

1 cup beef bouillon

1 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup heavy cream

2 cups pasta shells


Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Dry stew beef on paper towels and add to hot oil. Brown on all sides and remove from pan.

Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Push onion to the sides of the pan to make a well. Add garlic to well and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add beef back to pan, add 1 cup water and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to simmer, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 2½ hours.

While beef is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook shells according to package directions.

Add red wine to pan and stir to deglaze.  Remove beef and juices from pan and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium heat.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Saute until peppers are soft, 5-7 minutes.

While peppers are cooking, use your fingers or a fork to pull beef apart into small pieces.

Add Italian seasoning and tomato paste to peppers and mix well.  Stir in broth and bring to simmer.

Mix ¼ cup water with cornstarch in a small bowl or glass.  Add to pepper mixture and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Simmer until broth thickens.

Add beef, cream and shells into the pan.  Heat through and serve immediately.


4 servings, 595 calories per serving

Hack:  Pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Hack:  Dehydrated vegetables can be used in this recipe.


Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Bechamel

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna is a hearty dish with a sauce so delicious, you want to eat it all by itself.  Make a double batch to drizzle over veggies or pasta!

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel

Course Main Course
Servings 6
Calories 480 kcal


Butternut Bechamel Sauce:

  • 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (2 lbs)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 4 cloves freshly minced garlic (4 tsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (2 ounces)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced, (1 pound)
  • 5 cups Swiss chard, leaves thinly sliced, stems chopped and kept separate (1 bunch)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped*


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (4 ounces)
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Combine squash, 1 cup broth, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Place squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Add Gruyere cheese and 2 ounces of mozzarella.  Blend until cheese is well incorporated. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add onion, mushroom and chopped Swiss chard stems. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until browned and liquid evaporates (7-10 minutes).
  • Add chard leaves and 1 tbsp vegetable broth. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes or until chard wilts. Place vegetable mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Place mixture into a bowl and toss in pine nuts.
  • In a seperate bowl, mix ricotta and egg until well incorporated.
  • Coat 11 x 7-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
  • Spread ¾ cup bechamel sauce on top of lasagna noodles. Top with ½ of the vegetable mixture (about ¾ cup),
  • Add a layer of ½ cup ricotta and ⅓ cup mozzarella cubes. Top with 2 lasagna noodles.
  • Repeat the above step for the second layer.
  • Put remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top of the lasagna. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and lay over top of the pan.
  • Cook, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until lasagna is bubbly and internal temperature is 160°. Put lasagna under the broiler to further brown top, if desired.
  • Allow lasagna to rest a minimum of 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • *Roast pine nuts in saute pan in a single layer until lightly browned.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the redrigerator for up to 5 days
  • Hack: Place individual portions of cut, cooled lasagna into individual containers (or one container, separating portions with parchment paper) and store in the freezer for a quick grab-and-go lunch!
  • Hack: Fresh peeled and cubed butternut squash can be purchased in the produce department of the grocery store. Frozen butternut squash can also be used.
  • Hack: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.
  • Hack: Make a double recipe of Bechamel sauce. Freeze extra portion in 1 cup portions to serve over pasta or vegetables!  If the sauce separates after thawing, give it a whirl in the blender before heating.
  • Hack:  Bechamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Cover surface with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin.
  • Hack:  Uncooked winter squash can be stored in a cool, dark environment (less than 50℉) for up to 2 months so stock up when it’s on sale!  Cook, mash and freeze unseasoned winter squash for up to 12 months as a quick and easy addition to many recipes.
Keyword bechamel, butternut squash, lasagna, mushroom, pasta, swiss chard, vegetable lasagna, vegetarian

Did you know?  Winter squash provides numerous health benefits that may help reduce the risk of many diseases!

Suggestion: Use leftover bechamel sauce to make creamy chicken and peas!

Suggestion:  Use leftover pine nuts to make this Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts, Scallion Pesto or Baked Rice Pilaf!


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