|Enchilada Stuffed Shells|
My husband loves Tex-Mex food. I was going to make enchiladas for dinner. However, after making the sauce, I realized that we were out of shells. Now what? I was staring into the pantry when it came to me that we were out of tortilla shells, but we did have pasta shells. Why not? I mixed Tex-Mex flavors with Italian American pasta and now we have Enchilada Stuffed Shells. Foodies call this Fusion Cuisine. Call it what you want, it is yummy.
You can purchase your favorite enchilada sauce or make your own. Same with the taco seasoning. After cooking, you could top this with chopped tomatoes and a little cilantro.
Hardware: A very large pot, parchment paper, a cutting board and knives, measuring cups & spoons, a large skillet, a wooden spoon, a colander, a regular spoon, and a 9 x 13 glass baking dish
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 25 minutes; Dinner in an hour
- 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
- 1-pound ground beef
- 1 small onion (4 ounces)
- ¼ green pepper (4 ounces)
- 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning (you can use a package or make your own)
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 + 1 cups enchilada sauce (You can buy 2 large cans)
- 1 + ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt & pepper
- Cooking spray
- If you are making your own enchilada sauce, do that first. You can make it a day or two before.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚.
- Dice the onion and green pepper. Pre-measure everything and set aside.
- Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper. Fill the large pot with salted water and bring to a full boil. Add the shells and cook according to the package directions. Follow the instructions for al dente, which means that they have bite. The shells should still be firm because they will cook more in the oven. Drain them completely and rinse them with cold water. Place them open side down on the parchment paper.
- While the shells are cooking, heat the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion and green pepper and cook and crumble until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the grease. Return the mixture to the pan and add the taco seasoning, cream cheese, 1 cup of the enchilada sauce, and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Bring to a simmer and stir until the cream cheese is melted. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
- Spray the bottom of the baking dish with cooking spray. Add just enough of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Gently fill each shell with the beef mixture and place the shells, facing up, into the prepared dish. If there is any beef mixture left over, you can nestle it around the shells or freeze it. Pour the enchilada sauce over the shells and sprinkle the remaining cheddar over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with a side salad.