Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stuffed Shells, Mexican Style

I am always looking for something new to cook. If not to keep the family guessing, to mix it up for me in the kitchen. So I was hunting something new the other day, and I found this recipe on Pinterest. Because I find all the cool stuff on Pinterest. Anyway, thought I would share it with you. I made some modifications, so to find the original recipe, click here. Read on, and you can see how we made it (basically the same way, just with homemade mixes and sauce) And can I make a suggestion? Keep the recipe doubled the way I give it to you. You will add about five minutes to your prep/cooking time, and will have a second meal to freeze for those days you just need something to throw into the oven! Of course for us, we ate both pans in one sitting. And were fighting over who got to lick out the pans!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe *following
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 box Jumbo Shells (approximately 40 shells)
  • 1 Enchilada Sauce recipe *following
  • 1-2 cups salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Montery Jack Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, or a combo of the two

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt to taste, and the pasta shells. Boil the shells for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the shells and rinse in cool water.

2. While the pasta is working, brown up your ground beef and onions over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain excess grease from the pan and set aside. Add the Taco Seasoning and stir to mix.

3. Add in cream cheese, cooking over medium to low heat, stirring until cheese is mixed in and melted through. Take off heat and set aside.

4. Mix together the Enchilada Sauce and the salsa, adding enough salsa to make a nice gravy of sorts. Add less if you prefer thicker sauces, more if you like thinner sauces.

5. Pour about half of the gravy into the bottom of two 9X13 pans and spread around to cover. Fill each jumbo shell with a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture and place into the pan. Repeat until the shells are all filled, placing about 20 shells in each pan. If there is any left over meat, sprinkle over the stuffed shells.

6. Pour the remaining sauce over the two pans. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

7. Remove pans from oven and the foil from the pans. Cover with the cheeses, and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbly.

*Taco Seasoning

1 heaping TBS chili powder
3tsp. paprika (smoked if you want a deeper flavor)
3tsp. cumin
2tsp. onion powder
2tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. salt
dash of cayenne
Combine all the ingredients. Use as you would packaged mixes. Makes 6 TBS

*Enchilada Sauce

6TBS reserved fat from ground beef (or butter if you would rather)
6TBS flour
3 cups beef stock
2TBS chili powder
2tsp. cumin

Place fat in a skillet over medium heat, whisk in flour to make a roux, cooking for a couple of minutes. Slowly add stock, whisking as you go to remove all lumps. Once gravy is smooth, add the remaining two ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Use as you would any enchilada sauce.

Y'all, we completely fell in love with this. I cooked up some corn for a side, but a small salad would be great as well. I hope you try this, and enjoy!!