Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taco Stuffed Shells

Because I work for a school, I have had the last week and a half off and I have another 5 days before I go back to work. I'm really enjoying the break. But I know it is going to be over before I know it.

I love my job! I really, really enjoy going to work everyday. But there are some adjustments when you go from a "stay-at-home" mom to a working mom. Getting dinner on the table is one of them. I only work til 2:30 but by the time I get home, help with homework, return phone calls, etc, it seems like dinner time creeps up on me. I have done "mega-cooking" (or freezer cooking, or batch cooking or once-a-month cooking, whatever you want to call it) for years now. While I was going to school it saved me more than once! I haven't done it lately.

So, before I go back to school on Monday, I'm going to cook up a few meals to put in the freezer. One of those is "Taco-Stuffed Shells" one of my family's favorites. I have no pictures but I'll try to post some later. This recipe is for two meals worth, feel free to double as desired.

Taco-Stuffed Shells

Fry in a pan:

2 pounds ground beef (this time I'm going to try a vegetarian substitute)

When it hamburger is done, add enough taco seasoning to make it "taco-y" enough for you. The original recipe (from Quick Cooking- January/February 2001), they say "2 envelopes taco seasoning." That is too spicy for us, we use less.

Cook according to the directions on your taco seasoning. When it is ready, turn off the heat and stir in:

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (I use reduced fat),

stir until the cream cheese is melted and throughly mixed into the meat. Cool for awhile (while you boil the pasta shells).

In a big pot, boil:

24 jumbo pasta shells

When done, toss gently with butter (this will help them not stick together). When they are cool enough to handle, stuff each shell with meat mixture. The shells should be full but not overflowing. At this point I put them on a cookie sheet and put all the shells in the freezer until solid. Then I take the shells out and put them all in a freezer gallon bag.

When you are ready to serve, put the number of shells desired in a greased casserole pan. I usually use 2 or 3 shells per person. Cover the shells with salsa and/or taco sauce (about 1 -2 cups). Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and top with grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips. The best cheese is a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack but plain cheddar works fine, too. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. One thing I do is buy a big bag of tortilla chips on cooking day and divide them up and put them into freezer bags and store them in the freezer. That way I actually have chips when I want to serve this meal!!

We serve these with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Sour cream is really good, too. I almost always make Spanish rice to go on the side.

It is really good and super easy!




rk.weinert said...

Great idea, Jill. I made a batch today and while I was waiting for the meat and pasta to cook, I made some Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts and Cheesy Chicken Bundles. Now I have 5 meals ready in the freezer for my return to work! I love that. Karen

Jason Young said...

Hey You!
I'm trying to find a good receipe for freezer rolls. I found one from a book/website that you suggested at an enrichment, but I can't remember the name of the book. Do you have a favorite that will last for a while in the freezer? We have to use up our yeast before it goes bad...we have like 4 lbs of it :) Gotta love food storage!!

Jill said...

Karen, I did the same thing! I made King Ranch Chicken (x3), Cheddar Broccoli soup (x3), and cincinnati Chili (x3). I want to do some chicken pot pie filling before Monday. I need meals in the freezer before school starts!

Mandy, you need to get some meals in the freezer before that baby comes!! the best meal is "Best Ever Crescent Rolls" from 30 Day Gourmet. I can't find it on line right now but you might be able to do a search for it. I will try to post it in the next day or two.


Jill said...

Mandy, I found them!!

Try that link and see if it works (I'm new at this and not very good at posting links!)


Nancy said...

Jill, those sound great. My menu this week has some "eating from the freezer" items on it; love it when that happens as it seems to make dinner hour so easy.