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I found this recipe last year and can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it yet. I’m always on the lookout for something that involves pasta (Alan can eat pasta 4 nights a week). When I saw this recipe my eyes lit up! Could it be that I had found something that involves pasta but yet ventures into a new cuisine. A break away from Italian and an entry into Mexican? I knew that Alan liked tacos so the flavors would be OK so I set out to try it. I was a little nervous when I was making this, I have to admit. Stuffed shells with taco seasoned beef? Taco seasoned beef with cream cheese (which we WILL NOT let Alan know is in here)?

My biggest worry was what if he liked it and I didn’t? What if I found a recipe that he enjoyed and would request and I couldn’t stomach? We already had enough of those! All of these worries were gone as we both took our first bites. The tastes are refreshingly new with the shells and how it’s prepared but still known enough to be considered a comfort food. It doesn’t take that long to prepare and is definitely a nice change up when winter foods start to get a little mundane.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

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1 lb. ground beef
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning (or better yet use this Taco Seasoning!)
4 oz. cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1.5 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce (This is a smooth, tomato based sauce found in the Mexican section)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
3 green onions
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.  While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with any condiments you’d like (green onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.

Adapted from:  A Pinch of This & That

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