I love to make casseroles, even though there are just 2 of us in our family. The main reason is that there are always leftovers and I won’t have to cook two days in a row. Thank goodness Mr. G loves leftovers. I love to cook but not every day.
One of those casseroles which makes really good leftovers is my Taco-Stuffed Pasta Shells. It also makes a great casserole to make ahead and bake later.
Even though its stuffed shells, it really is an easy recipe to make. Not many ingredients either and most you may already have. The trick is to not cook your shells the full-time amount it says on the box. Shave off a couple of minutes and the shells will hold up better when you need to stuff them.
I prefer to use my own Taco Seasoning Mix since its made with spices easily available and I know whats in it. Packaged taco seasoning mix seems to have ingredients I’m not sure what they are.
I love the mixture of cheeses in this recipe too. Mexican blend with Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers gives is a nice blend of flavors. I do use a mild version of Rotel for the tomatoes on top, but if you like it hot, use the hotter version.
- 8 oz uncooked jumbo pasta shells about 24 shells from 12-oz box
- 1 lb lean at least 80% ground beef
- 1 package 1 oz taco seasoning mix or your own version
- 1 can 14.5 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with Jalapeno Peppers
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro optional
- Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on box minus a couple of minutes on cooking time. The shells are easier to stuff if they aren't cooked all the way through.
- Using the same pan as to cook pasta in, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Add taco seasoning mix, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup of the shredded cheese; stir well until cheese is melted.
- Fill each pasta shell with about 1 tablespoon beef mixture; place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Top filled shells with plum tomatoes and chopped cilantro; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve warm.
Items I Used to Make This Recipe:
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I’m just a country girl loving my geeky life with my wonderful husband, always taking pictures, getting my hands dirty in the garden, being crafty, exploring with travels and enjoying all this on a budget. But above all, living my faith as a child of God!