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.
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!