April 16, 2018

It may not be Taco Tuesday, but Taco Stuffed Shells hit the spot any day.

These stuffed shells make a simple weeknight or freeze ahead meal. You can assemble the shells freeze, then thaw and add picante sauce and cheese right before baking.

Taco Stuffed Shells

If you have a hankering for Tex-Mex, Taco Stuffed Shells are the answer. They are filled with ground beef and veggies of your choice and topped with picante sauce and melted Colby Jack cheese.

Filling:

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 small onion, diced

2 envelopes taco seasoning

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 1/2 cups chopped veggies (red, yellow or green peppers, frozen corn, zucchini, etc. (whatever you have on hand, I used frozen corn)

1 cup medium picante sauce

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed

Shells:

46 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (there are approximately 46 shells in one box)

3/4 cup medium picante sauce

1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta shells to al dente stage according to box directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Add undrained tomatoes, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water, and veggies. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Allow mixture to cool a bit before filling shells, if desired.

Fill each pasta shell with about 2 tablespoons of the beef/veggie mixture. Place into a casserole dish (I was able to fit 24 shells in a 9x13-inch dish).

Top each shell with a spoonful of picante sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered for an additional 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes:

These shells can be assembled and then frozen. Do not add additional picante sauce or cheese before freezing.

This recipe can easily be halved. One dish of 24 shells will feed about five people.