It’s freezer cooking FRIDAY! And that means I’ve made and tested another great recipe to share with you today. This one is one of my favorite easy recipes with ground beef. We’re going to be making taco stuffed shells. It’s easy and delicious and of course freezes very well! For those who might be wondering how I pick recipes to share here, I thought I would walk you through the science of my selections.
1. I pick a recipe that looks delicious online.
2. I make it my own.
3. I freeze it for at least a week.
4. I thaw and cook it and enjoy it with my family.
If it passes the thumbs up from my four year old, it gets shared here! Well, that’s not exactly true. I have a very picky four year old and so there are times where he won’t try it – but me and the husband give it our two thumbs up. I have tried a few recipes that did not pass the test. They were edible but not the best – and therefore you’ll never find them here. My goal is to save you the time of wading through all the thousands of recipes online.
Anyways, today is no different. The marriage of Italy and Mexico comes to mind with this casserole dish. We’re using pasta as well as refried beans and other fixins’ you might find on your taco. It’s taco stuffed shells! I found the inspiration recipe here.
This recipe makes three pans of taco shells! I bought my pans on Amazon. It’s so much cheaper! To make this recipe you will need:
18 oz Jumbo Shells (I had to buy two boxes and use 1 1/2 of the shells.)
2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
2 packages of taco seasoning
2 Cups water
3 (16 oz) cans of refried beans
2 Cups cheddar cheese
2 (16 oz) jars of salsa (I used one medium and one mild.)
3 roma tomatoes
3/4 Cup sliced green onions
Brown the ground beef and drain it. I cooked my ground beef the night before in the crockpot. This makes assembling freezer meals so much easier! Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. While the pasta is cooking, combine the ground beef, taco seasoning, refried beans and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese.
Let’s take a moment to talk about refried beans and what they look like inside the can. Not crazy about them. The taste however, delicious.
Layer about 1/2 to 1 cup of the salsa on the bottom of the pan. The next step is the most work but it goes quickly. Stuff each pasta shell with the meat mixture. I used my 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop and it was perfect. You may find that your pasta is quite hot when you drain it. I ran cold water over it to cool it down quickly so that I could start to stuff the shells.
I was able to fit about 22 shells per pan. You could layer them but I liked them in just one layer since there’s only four of us. Once you have them all filling the pan, pour the remainder of the jar of salsa over them.
Top with the remaining cheese, tomatoes and green onions. Remember, I made three pans of this at once. One went into our oven for dinner and the other two went into the freezer!
As I mentioned above, we tried the recipe after it had been frozen for a week. It was delicious! You’ll need to bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour if it’s completely thawed. My kids LOVED this recipe. And they’re picky. It makes a momma’s heart happy.
- 18 oz Jumbo Shells (I had to buy two boxes and use 1½ of the shells.)
- 2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
- 2 packages of taco seasoning
- 2 Cups water
- 3 (16 oz) cans of refried beans
- 2 Cups cheddar cheese
- 2 (16 oz) jars of salsa (I used one medium and one mild.)
- 3 roma tomatoes
- ¾ Cup sliced green onions
- Brown and cook the ground beef. Drain.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles. Drain.
- In a mixing bowl combine the cooked ground beef, water, refried beans, taco seasoning and 1½ cups of cheese.
- Stuff the pasta shells with the mixture filling three pans.
- Top with remaining cheese, tomatoes and onions.
- Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.
- If freezing, let thaw before cooking.