Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taco Filled Pasta Shells

This recipe is for a cousin of Bill’s, Melinda, who had done the meals for a month kind of cooking. You buy a bunch o’ ingredients, get together with a friend and assemble, cook and freeze an entire month’s worth of meals. I’ve never done an entire month, instead I look for meals that double easily, making one for now and one for later. This recipe falls into that category, well, depending on how much your family eats. Just like the ham balls, you will be so glad you have these in the freezer.

Taco Filled Pasta Shells

  • 2 lbs. gr. beef
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted

Additional Ingredients for each casserole:

  • 1 c. salsa
  • 1 c. taco sauce
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips
  • sour cream
  • chopped green onions

Brown ground beef and drain off fat. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer if needed to melt cream cheese. Transfer to a bowl and chill for 1 hour. Cook pasta shells to package directions; drain. Gently toss with melted butter. Fill each shell with about 3 Tbsp. taco meat mixture.

Place 12 shells in a greased 9” baking dish. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. (WooHoo!!)

To prepare remaining shells, spoon salsa into another greased baking dish. Place filled shells on top and drizzle taco sauce over the top. Cover and bake at 350o for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheeses and chips and bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve with sour cream and onions.

To use frozen shells: Thaw in refrigerator. Add salsa to dish, etc. Bake at 350o for about 40 minutes. Uncover and proceed as above.

Taco Pasta Shells What I actually do:

  • The cream cheese doesn’t have to be perfectly softened. It will melt faster if it is somewhat softer than if you just pulled it out of the fridge.
  • I don’t melt the butter. That dirties another dish. Instead I throw it into the hot pot the shells cooked in, then toss the hot shells on top of them.
  • When I freeze the extra ones, I don’t put them in a greased casserole dish. I have some Tupperware freezer mates (of course), and I stick them in there. You could freeze them on wax paper lined sheets, then toss them in freezer bags if you wanted to. Save a casserole dish!
  • I don’t thaw them in the fridge (shh- don’t tell anyone). I pull them out ahead, if I can, but I set the on the counter.
  • I eyeball the salsa, taco sauce, cheese (use whatever you have!), chips. Use the chips from the bottom of the bag!
  • I do a happy dance when I have these in the freezer!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Mindy....now that our house is on the market I am even more thankful for my freezer of meals. I will add this to the list for next time...yummy!


Thanks for reading. Kind comments are always welcomed!