Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taco Stuffed Shells

Last night I made a DELICIOUS dinner of taco stuffed shells. I was kinda worried about finding gluten free large shells, but finally found some :) I'm not sure they are as large as regular ones, but I made them work :) I'm thinking next time, however, I may just mix the meat mixture with spiral pasta and be done, hahaha. It would certainly save me some time! Anyways, the kiddos and hubby really enjoyed this dish, and I am certain it would be great using regular pasta as well, if that is your fancy. Be forewarned - you need to prepare this meal a little ahead of time. Also, I made two batches, one for the freezer, so keep that in mind too.

Ingredients For Two dishes of stuffed shells:
2 pounds of ground meat (I used grass-fed beef)
enough taco seasoning for two pounds of meat (I use bulk - but you could just use 2 envelopes)
8 oz cream cheese
2 boxes of gluten free shells (I had some leftovers - you could also use other pasta if you do not want to stuff shells)
1/4C melted butter

Ingredients needed for each casserole (I only made one casserole last night and threw the other stuffed shells in the freezer):
1C salsa
1C taco sauce
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
1.5C tortilla chips
Fixings - we just used sour cream, but you could also throw some tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, and/or lettuce on top

In a large pan, brown meat. Drain. Add in cream cheese, cooking until melted and well mixed. Put mixture in bowl and cool for an hour. Cook pasta shells (watch that you do not overcook them or they will fall apart when you are stuffing them). Drain shells and gently mix with melted butter. Stuff shells with meat mixture. Put half the shells in a freezer container and freeze. Use the other half for the casserole.

In a 9" square pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread salsa in bottom. Place stuffed shells on top. Pour taco sauce on top of shells. Cover and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes, at 350. Uncover casserole and spread cheeses over top. Sprinkle crushed chips on top of cheese. Put back in oven, uncovered for another 15 minutes. Take out of oven and serve with fixings. YUMMY!!!