I love Mexican food, and by Mexican food I pretty much mean any form of ground meat combined with taco seasoning. Yes, I do enjoy Mexican restaurants (Tex-Mex when I am in Texas), but at home taco seasoning turns anything into Mexican for me. So, the other day when I was all set to make my usual recipe for Italian stuffed shells, I decided to take the Mexican route replacing oregano with taco seasoning and marinara with enchilada sauce. The end result was quite good, plus these are easy to make, easy to assemble, and I prepared everything in the morning and shoved it into the fridge for baking at dinner time.
I served three to each of us with a side of shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes, topped with guacamole and a dollop of sour cream. Wonderful!
Mexican Stuffed Shells
18 jumbo pasta shells
1 pound ground chuck
½ small yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 packet taco seasoning (or 2 T. Homemade)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 small can diced mild green chilies (optional)
1 10-oz. can enchilada sauce
1-1/3 cup homemade salsa, divided
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Prepare pasta shells according to package directions, rinse in cool water, and set aside.
In a 10-12 inch saute pan over medium heat, cook ground chuck with the onion, breaking meat up as you cook, until meat is evenly browned. Drain meat and return it to the pan. Add garlic and allow to cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in taco seasoning until thoroughly incorporated, then add cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted, then add 1/3 cup of the salsa. Stir in green chilies, if desired. Remove from heat.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining one cup salsa and enchilada sauce. Pour half of sauce mixture into the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
Fill each jumbo shell with about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture, dividing evenly among the 18 shells. Place shells on top of sauce in casserole dish and drizzle with the remaining sauce, being certain to cover each individual shell. Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil. (At this point the dish can be refrigerated for up to a day prior to baking.)
Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and top with cheese, again, being certain to cover each shell. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly.
This post is linked to: