Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taco Stuffed Shells

Just want to start out by congratulating my friend Crystal, who got married on Saturday. It turned out to be a mini-high school reunion, which was pretty cool. But the wedding was beautiful, and now the happy couple is jetting off to Hawaii for their honeymoon! Best of luck to you both!

Despite being a busy weekend, I did find time to do a lot of cooking. Only, most of the cooking wasn't for us. It was for my dad and siblings. My dad owns his own business (and us kids are/were his 'employees') and summer is the busiest time of year. Because of that, they often don't have time to make meals for themselves as they're running around like crazy. So when my dad asked me to make a few casseroles and bring them up Saturday, I jumped at the chance. First, it was a good opportunity to help them out; but second, it was also a chance to try out a new casserole recipe.

I'm sad to say I didn't have the time or ambition to take any pictures of the two dinners I made. But from the multiple texts I received around dinner time after delivering the goods, it seems as though both were a great success. The two dishes I made? Shepherd's pie (my own recipe), and Chicken Divan from Dinners for a Year and Beyond (GREAT blog, love her recipes).

I had some leftover uncooked hamburger after making the Shepherd's Pie, and I knew I wanted to make something Mexican out of it. Luckily, I had printed off a recipe for Taco Stuffed Shells from Artichokes and Garlic blog a few months ago. The concept is genius, and after the yummy success of my other stuffed shells, I knew these would be super good too.

I did make a few modifications to the recipe (who doesn't, right?), and the resulting meal was super good! I especially liked the idea of the cream cheese mixed in with the meat; it bound the mixture together and added a nice tang to the filling. I will definitely make these again!


1 (12 oz.) box jumbo shells
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped (I used from a jar)
1 (4 oz.) jar chopped green chilies
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 oz. cream cheese
1 c. salsa
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. taco or enchilada sauce
up to 1 c. crushed tortilla chips
Mexican toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Add roasted red pepper and green chilies and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat, drain excess fat and return to skillet. Add taco seasoning, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Add cream cheese and melt into meat mixture. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, cook jumbo shells in boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour salsa in bottom of a large baking dish. Stuff each shell with meat mixture and place in baking dish (Note: I had about 8-10 shells left over). Cover with enchilada sauce, then with cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. Place on a plate and top with your favorite Mexican toppings (or, at least whatever you have on hand). Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for the link and so glad you enjoyed the Chicken Divan recipe.

    I have been meaning to try the Taco Stuffed Shells recipe and i am sure it would be a hit at my house. Fantastic photo!!

  2. I love this, what a creative thing to do with shells. I really like your modifications, I am going to try this soon.

  3. Wow these look incredible! I love that you made a traditional Italian recipe into Mexican recipe.

  4. I really like the sound of stuffing shells with taco fillings!