The cool winds of September have begun blowing through Maine. Once it gets chilly, my interest in cooking hearty meals for my family resumes after a summer of seafood, salads and barbecues.
I’ve seen a several versions of this recipe including a few at the Taste of Home website.
I had thought about leaving out the cream cheese to save fat. However, I would leave it in if I made it again. The creaminess balances the heat from the salsa.
Husband and son loved these. They were very similar to a Mexican lasagna in my meal rotation but a little bit more work due to the individual filling of the shells. But, sometimes, individual little things are more fun to eat than slices of things.
I had a baggie full of pasta shells left over, which I stuck in the freezer for a batch of soup I’m going to make this weekend. I also had quite a bit of vegetable mix left, which I think will go on a weekend southwestern pizza with grilled salsa verde chicken.
Southwestern Pasta Shells
One pound ground beef
Taco seasoning (packet or equivalent)
Four ounces cream cheese
½ package jumbo pasta shells (approximately 20)
Two ears corn, cooked and cut off the cob
½ can black beans rinsed and drained
One small onion, diced
Handful of chopped cilantro
One jar of salsa (mild, medium or hot depending on your taste)
Two cups shredded cheese (I used combination of cheddar and monterey jack for meltability)
Cook and drain ground beef and add taco seasoning. Mix in cream cheese until melted.
Cook pasta shells in boiling water (follow package directions) then set aside until cool enough to handle.
Mix all veggies together in a bowl and set aside
Preheat oven to 375.
Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour half jar of salsa over pan spreading to coat evenly.
Begin stuffing shells with a spoonful of beef. Top with a spoonful of veggie mix. Place carefully on top of salsa in pan. Repeat until you’ve used all the shells or have run out of mix. Save any leftover mix for taco pizza or soup or nacho topping.
Sprinkle cheese over shells. Pour remaining salsa over shells and cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Serve as is or with sour cream or crumbled chips.