Everyone loves taco night! Take a new spin on tacos by adding the best cheesy beef filling to pasta shells. Taco stuffed shells is a one-pot meal that everyone will love! Add your favorite toppings for a quick weeknight dinner that's easy to make and even more fun to eat!
This is almost a one-pot meal - you'll have to boil the pasta shells separately, but that's super easy. The rest comes together in a single skillet, so be sure and pick one that can go from stovetop to oven, like cast iron.
- Everyone gets their favorite toppings! Top these pasta shells with all of the same taco toppings you love.
- Let the kids help. Stuffing the pasta shells can be a joint venture.
- Leftovers are amazing! These reheat wonderfully so you can enjoy lunch later on this week.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Ground beef - Pick a lean ground beef that will need minimal draining, making it easier to use. Many brands come right in one pound packages, just what you need!
Taco seasoning - Grab your favorite packet from the store or use my homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning. No matter what you use, you can always customize it by sprinkling in more heat.
Pepper and onion - These make a great flavor base for any sort of meal, tacos included. Sautéing them with the beef amps up the flavor.
Green chiles - These come in mild or hot versions, so get your favorite. I find the mild adds just the right Mexican flavor without too much heat.
Enchilada sauce - I used red here, but you could also use green enchilada sauce if you love it.
Cream cheese - This melts right into the beef, making it creamy and easy to load up into the pasta shells. It also ties together all the peppers and seasoning.
- Use an oven-safe skillet so your dish can go straight from the stove to the oven. Make sure it is also broiler-safe if you'd like a crispy top.
- Use frozen peppers and onions to save on prep time.
- Customize the filling to your liking. No onions? No problem! Want to amp up the heat? Go right ahead.
- Preheat the oven and boil the shell pasta.
- Brown the beef with the peppers and onions.
- Add chiles, cream cheese, and some of the shredded cheese and stir to melt and combine.
- Now use this mixture to stuff the shells and layer in the pan with the enchilada sauce and remaining cheese.
- Bake until hot and bubbly and end with the broiler if desired.
Absolutely! Chicken or turkey will both work well here because there is SO much flavor added to the filling! If you are someone that finds ground poultry to be somewhat bland, then you will truly enjoy using it here.
Keep in mind that pasta will continue to absorb the sauce from the filling as it sits, so they will definitely dry out some in the fridge. But you can safely keep these taco stuffed shells in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days and reheat to enjoy.
You can sometimes find large gluten-free pasta shells if your store has a great selection of specialty products. Keep in mind that you'll want to cook them a couple minutes less than the package directions when you are boiling them. This will allow you to stuff them without them falling apart.
Any ground meat will work here; just keep in mind your flavor profile. Ground chicken and turkey will benefit from the range of seasonings in the filling. If you are using chorizo out of its casing then you may be able to scale back some as it brings a lot of its own flavor to the dish. Feel free to make it your own!
You will need to boil the pasta separately, but you can definitely do the rest in just one pan. As you fill the shells, just set them on a dinner plate or cutting board until you've used up the filling. Then layer the sauce and proceed with the recipe.
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