Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taco-Stuffed Shells

I had never used the jumbo pasta shells, and when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was time to try them. These mini tacos were delicious and fun to eat, which makes them that much better! And I have been thinking of so many yummy fillings to spoon into these little shells, the possibilities are endless!

These taco-stuffed shells were good, but my husband and I thought that the meat lacked some flavor. I posted the original recipe below so that you can have it, but next time I make something like this, I will just cook the meat how we usually do for tacos; with taco seasoning and taco sauce. I think that the flavor may have also been somewhat dull because I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef, and the turkey needs more help to have flavor than beef does. But these are so much fun to make (and eat), so give them a try with your favorite taco fillings!

Taco-Stuffed Shells (Print)
from Fast-Fix One-Dish Meals
Prep: 40 minutes / Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

18 jumbo shell macaroni (about half of a 12-ounce box)
1 pound ground beef or turkey
3 ounces cream cheese (I used neufchatel)
1 teaspoon chili powder
16 ounces salsa
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook shells according to package directions. Drain shells and rinse with cold water, draining well after rinsing.

2. While pasta is cooking, brown meat in a skillet and drain grease as needed. Stir in cream cheese and chili powder (or your usual taco seasonings). Remove from heat.

3. Spread about 1/2 cup salsa in the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish or 9x13 baking dish (it will be thin, add more if you like). Spoon about 2 tablespoons of meat into each shell and place in baking dish. Top shells with remaining salsa.

4. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more or until heated through. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

My Review

  • Preparation: 4
    • This takes about 1 hour from start to finish.
  • Taste: 3
    • I will probably make some taco-stuffed shells again, but as I mentioned before, I will make the taco meat with more flavor.
  • Cost: 5
    • This is about $1.35 per serving, and I still have half a box of shells to use :)
  • Clean-up: 4
    • The title of my recipe book deceived me; I needed 3 pans for this dish! A pot for the pasta, skillet for the meat, and then the baking dish.
  • Changes
    • As I mentioned before, I would recommend using your favorite taco meat, but I wanted to provide you with the original recipe as well.
  • Summary
    • This recipe is a lot of fun and I think that children would really enjoy eating these mini tacos in jumbo macaroni shells!


  1. Fun and yum! Do they make the jumbo shells in whole wheat?

  2. You would be proud Monica! I made this for dinner and used whole-grain shells. The kids loved it along with Matt and I.

    PS...If I want Jax to eat something I just tell him "This is Mr.Coopers favorite" and he will eat it all up. Mr.Cooper now has a lot of favorites :)