January 18, 2013

Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef

Another wonderful make-ahead dinner is stuffed shells with ground beef. I have made a similar dish with ricotta and spinach and the premise is the same -- make ahead and bake what you need. Perfect for a healthy weeknight meal.

These are hearty shells, full of ground beef and loads of cheese. Serving them with sour cream is decadent and it's almost like eating a plate of nachos. In fact, my dad, who shared this recipe, even tops them with crumpled nacho chips for an added crunchy texture.

Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef
Serves 4


  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature cut into cubes (3/4 of a box of cream cheese)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 package of Taco seasoning (make as directed with a cup of water to mix)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 20 large pasta shells


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • In a large saute pan, cook ground beef and drain off fat
  • Add cubed cream cheese, chili powder and mixed taco sauce. Help the cream cheese to blend by pressing on it with a spoon
  • Let simmer gently but don't boil off the taco sauce, keep it fairly runny
  • Meanwhile, cook 20 pasta shells, then strain under cold water
  • Use a soup spoon to stuff each shell carefully (open the shell in the palm of your hand with the points between your thumb and little finger, spoon in mixture with the other hand. This is easiest if the mixture is cooled, too)
  • Place each shell in a buttered, oven proof dish meat side up
  • Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes (if just out of the fridge, cook for about 30 minutes)
  • Remove from oven and cover with cheeses and broil until cheese is bubbling
  • Serve with sour cream

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