Kate's Cuisine

Nov 15 2016

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells


I love stuffed pasta shells. I mean, shells of pasta just waiting for you to cram them with all your favourite things.Really? What’s not to like? I got on the kick when I turned pasta shells into perogy delights. But when I got the idea to make Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells, complete with all the toppings and fillings, I wasn’t too sure how they would go over. I mean, I was messing with something sacred, something I promised I would never touch. And here I was, messing with it.

The good news? The girls loved them! So much so that we ate them for Friday’s dinner, Saturday’s lunch, and they went to school yesterday, too. The girls just couldn’t get enough. Maddie has taken to calling them simply “Taco Pasta,” and she’s even decided that next year, instead of the regular tacos she typically has for her birthday dinner, she’s going to have these instead. I’d call that a success!

  • 24 pasta shells $2.99
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 2 pounds ground beef $13.95
  • 1 onion, chopped in small dice $0.47
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning $0.99
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juices $1.89
  • 3/4 cup water Free, with your water bill!
  • 1 green pepper, chopped in small dice $0.70
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped in small dice with seeds and ribs removed $0.30
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed $3.49
  • Juice of 1 lime $0.30
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa $2.99
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $2.50
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped $0.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $30.98
Cost per serving $3.87

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Cook pasta shells in heavily salted water until they are just al dente, or even a little under (you’ll be putting them in the oven, so they’ll continue to cook.) When the pasta shells are finished cooking, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

3.) Heat olive oil over medium heat and when hot, add ground beef, onions, and garlic. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, stir, and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain in a colander to remove excess fat, and then place ground beef mixture back into the pan.

4.) Add in canned tomatoes with their juices, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted, and then add lime juice.

5.) Spread about 1/4 cup of salsa in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. One by one, fill each pasta shell with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ground meat mixture and place into the casserole dish.

6.) Once all the pasta shells are stuffed, drizzle salsa over each of them.

7.) Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle with the Monterey Jack cheese, and bake another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

8.) Allow pasta shells to rest for just about 5 minutes, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve!

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