For the sauce: mince onion, sautee’ in olive oil with dried Italian seasoning till soft, add the crushed tomatoes and the whole tomatoes breaking the whole tomatoes up with your hands into the pot (it’s fun, try it!). Add sugar salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes or so on low heat, add chopped basil, stir and take off the heat. Set aside.
Get a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the shells till aldente (less if you’re freezing them) drain and run cold water over. Keep in a bowl or pot of cold water till time to use.
For the ricotta filling: to a bowl add all the ingredients, stir and taste for seasoning, adjust for salt/pepper if needed.
For the meat filling: brown ground beef in a medium hot high sided pan (till there’s no more pink) drain fat add onion and garlic. Cook till the onion is translucent. Stir in spinach and cook till wilted down. (you may have to drain again).
Allow to cool completely and then stir in one egg, bread crumbs and cheese.
Stuff: to easily stuff with the ricotta cheese, pile it into a zip lock bag and snip a corner off, cup a shell in one hand and squeeze the cheese into the shell with the other.
Stuff: spoon the meat mixture into the other half of the shells, cup a shell in one hand and spoon the meat into the shell with the other hand. Pat down top to kind of pack the meat in a little.
Freeze: place the stuffed shells on parchment or paper lined cookie sheets in the freezer and allow to freeze till completely hardened. Then you can place them in zip lock bags to use later.
Cook: in a large lasagna sized pan, spoon some of the tomato sauce on the bottom and add about ¼ cup of water. place the shells in one layer on top of the sauce, and spoon more sauce on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake about 15 – 20 minutes at 375* take the foil off and top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and return to oven for about another 10 minutes.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.