Taco-Filled Pasta Shells

I’ve been stuffing pasta shells with different fillings for years, but my family enjoys this version with taco-seasoned meat the most. The frozen shells are so convenient, because you can take out only the number you need for a single-serving lunch or family dinner. Just add zippy taco sauce and bake.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS (for each casserole):
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Directions

  • In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Transfer to a bowl; cool. Chill for 1 hour.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Gently toss with butter. Fill each shell with about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture. Place 12 half of shells in a freezer container. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To prepare remaining shells, spoon 1 cup salsa into a greased 9-in. square baking dish. Top with remaining stuffed shells and 1 cup taco sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1 cup each of cheeses and 1-1/2 cups chips. Bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve with sour cream and onions.
  • Freeze option: To use frozen shells, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours (shells will be partially frozen). Spoon 1 cup salsa into a greased 9-in. square baking dish; top with shells and 1 cup taco sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with 1 cup each of cheeses and 1-1/2 cups chips; proceed as directed.
Nutrition Facts

2 shells: 492 calories, 31g fat (16g saturated fat), 98mg cholesterol, 982mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 1g fiber), 23g protein.

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