Treat Your Family to these Stuffed Shells – Taco Style
We love any kind of pasta at our house, but when I am in the mood for something special, I like to serve stuffed shells. This delicious take on my normal recipe uses Taco sauce to give them a unique Mexican flare. The kids will love these. They are perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
The recipe is fairly easy to do and can even be doubled and the stuffed shells frozen, so that much of the work is done later when time is at a premium.
Cook your beef first with the garlic until it is no longer pink. Add the water and taco seasoning and cook for another few minutes until the liquid is starting to get absorbed.Taco seasoning gives the hamburger meat its distinctive Mexican flavoring. (affiliate link) I use the medium sized shells. They are easier to get at my local store and still plenty big enough to hold lots of the filling. If you don’t have any taco seasoning on hand, you can easily make your own with this recipe and some common household spices.
After the meat finishes cooking, stir in the cream cheese until it just starts to melt. It doesn’t matter if it is completely melted. It will be quite dry at this stage but as the cheese melts more, it is the perfect consistency to stuff the shells.
Then the shells are stuffed. (this is the point you would freeze the stuffed shells if you were doubling the recipe.)
Next layer your casserole by placing your favorite salsan the bottom of an oven proof casserole, (affiliate link) adding the shells and pouring your favorite marinara sauce over the top. (see my recipe for home made marinara here. I make it with fresh roasted tomatoes which are plentiful this time of the year.) I used Newman’s own black bean and corn salsa, but any will do just fine. The casserole will cook for 30 minutes at 350º and then another 15 minutes after the cheese has melted.
Garnish with some diced green onions and sour cream and add a tossed salad. The family will ask for this one again and again. Olé!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pkg taco seasoning
- ¾ cups water
- ½ package (4 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
- ½ box of jumbo pasta shells (6 ounces) I ended up with 13 filled shells
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup marinara sauce (you can also use tomato sauce or taco sauce)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 green onions, chopped
- In a large skillet on the stove, cook the ground beef with the minced garlic over medium heat until it is no longer pink. Drain the fat. In the same pan, stir in the taco seasoning and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese until it has melted. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; cool and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Gently toss with the butter. Fill each shell with about 3 tbsp of the meat mixture.
- To prepare the casserole, spoon salsa into a greased 9-in. square baking dish. Top with the stuffed shells and pour over the taco sauce. Cover the casserole and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with the cheeses. Bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve garnished with sour cream and onions.
- Serves 3-4 or 6-8 if you double the recipe.
- You can double this recipe and fill 12 shells with the meat mixture and freeze the for up to 3 months. To use the frozen shells: Thaw them in the refrigerator for 24 hours (shells will be partially frozen). Then assemble the casserole as describe above and bake.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission, but the price will be the same for you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."