Saturday, September 29, 2012
Taco Pasta Shells
Hmmmm, Stuffed Taco Shells.
That sounds good.
The only problem is that try as I might, I could NOT find the large "shells" for stuffing that were called for. I looked. And looked. I did that whole "stare at the shelf at the grocery store just waiting for it to magically appear" thing. I asked someone I know who works with the store. Some were coming but they were out for now. Bummer.
So I threw in the towel and bought medium shells.
They could have probably been stuffed but it would have taken a REALLY long time. Plus, there were a bunch of shells in the box.
So I decided to improvise a bit.
I used the basic recipe from the Stuffed Taco Shells and made minor changes.
(If I can ever find the large shell pasta, I would like to try it the way it was originally written.)
Sadly the Hubs was out of town for the afternoon/evening and didn't get to participate.
But the rest of us did. And we enjoyed it. I even had some leftovers for today, and it was just as good heated up again. I will be making it again.
Ground beef (1 lb or more...I use 1 1/2 pounds because that is how our half a cow came packaged)
1 envelope (1/4 cup) taco seasoning
4-6 oz cream cheese cubed (because I had more ground beef, I used more cream cheese, light of course...)
pasta shells cooked according to package (all I could find were medium shells)
salsa (I didn't measure, I just used enough to cover the bottom of my dish. I did make my own)
taco sauce (I used one bottle which is probably more than called for but it worked :)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack but cheddar and Monterrey Jack would also be good)
Brown ground beef over medium/medium high heat. Add in taco seasoning. Stir to combine. Drop in cubed cream cheese. The original recipe called for simmering with the lid on to help the cream cheese melt. I just dropped the temperature on the oven a little and stirred with the lid off.
Preheat oven to 350.
Pour salsa in the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 9 x 13).
Pour pasta shells into the baking dish.
Spread beef mixture over the pasta shells.
Pour taco sauce over the top, then tightly cover the dish with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven. Remove foil. Spread shredded cheese over the top. Return to oven for about 10 more minutes.
You can top this with avocado, guacamole, sour cream, olives, etc. I just took a few tortilla chips and crumbled them over the top. Gave it a nice little crunch.