20 to 24 giant pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
¾ cup of water
1 cup salsa or salsa-style tomatoes
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel tomatoes, drained (or diced tomatoes)
1 finely chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper
Green onion (optional garnish)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the shells according to package directions and drain well.
Meanwhile, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When halfway through the browning process, add the onion and continue cooking until the beef is browned and the onions are soft. If necessary, drain any excess fat from the pan.
Add taco seasoning and water to ground beef mixture. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add salsa and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, stir in half of each cheese.
Pour the seasoned ground beef mixture into the shells and lay them in a single layer in the prepared dish. Top with remaining cheese, Rotel tomatoes and chopped jalapeño.
Cook covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped jalapeño or green onion. For best results, serve quickly.
YIELD: 1 SERVING: 24 shells
Amount per serving: CALORIES: 226 | TOTAL FAT: 10g | SATURATED FATS: 5g | CHOLESTEROL: 42mg | SODIUM: 482mg | CARBOHYDRATES: 18g | FIBER: 1g | SUGAR: 1g | PROTEIN: 15g
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use pre-cooked pasta shells for this recipe?
It is recommended to use uncooked jumbo pasta shells and cook according to package directions before stuffing. Precooked shells may become too soft during cooking.
Can I use another type of pasta instead of jumbo shells?
Yes, you can try using other pasta shapes like large macaroni shells or manicotti tubes. Simply adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.
Can I use another type of meat instead of ground beef?
Yes, you can substitute ground beef for ground turkey, chicken, or even plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu or textured vegetable protein (TVP). Adjust cooking time accordingly.
How spicy is this recipe?
The spiciness can be adjusted according to your preference. If you like mild flavors, you can reduce or omit the jalapeno or serrano pepper.
On the other hand, if you like it spicy, you can add more chopped chilies or even incorporate hot sauce into the topping.
Can I prepare the filling in advance?
Yes, you can make the ground beef mixture ahead and refrigerate it until you are ready to stuff the shells.
Just be sure to reheat it slightly before filling the shells to ensure even cooking.
Is it possible to make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by replacing the ground beef with vegetable crumbles or cooked lentils.
Additionally, you can use vegetarian-friendly cheese substitutes or omit the cheese altogether.
What are the service suggestions or additional toppings?
Taco Stuffed Shells can be served with a variety of toppings and sides. Some popular options include sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, or a squeeze of lime juice.
You can also serve it with Mexican rice or a fresh salad for a complete meal.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble the stuffed shells ahead of time and refrigerate them. When you’re ready to cook, just follow the directions, but increase the cooking time slightly to ensure the shells are heated through.