TACO STUFFED SHELLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 20–24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup salsa or salsa style tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes drained (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper finely minced
  • green onion (optional garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the shells according to package directions and drain well.
  3. Meanwhile brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When it is about halfway through the browning process add the onion and continue cooking until the beef is browned and onions are soft. If needed drain any excess grease from the skillet. 
  4. Add the taco seasoning and water to the ground beef mixture.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the salsa and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Once cooled stir in half of each cheese. 
  5. Spoon the seasoned ground beef mixture into the shells and lay them in a single layer in the prepared dish. Top with the remaining cheese, Rotel tomatoes, and minced jalapeno. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with minced jalapeno or green onion.  For best results serve promptly.  

NOTES

  • For a little more kick substitute minced serrano pepper for the jalapeno. Serrano peppers have a Scoville heat ranking between 5000 to 15000 while jalapenos have a Scoville heat ranking between 2000 to 5000.
  • Any kind of tomato is great on top of these shells. I have used fire roasted tomatoes, sliced grape tomatoes, and quartered cherry tomatoes with good success.
  • Where gloves when mincing jalapenos or other hot peppers or at the very least do not touch your face and thoroughly wash your hands after handling the peppers. To tame the heat remove the veins and seeds with a spoon.
  • Pro Tip – don’t risk dropping the ground beef in the sink to drain the fat. Simply tilt the pan and use a paper towel to absorb the grease.
  • Add a few extra shells when boiling the pasta as inevitably some of them will tear.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave at a reduced power.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months in a sturdy container.

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