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