This recipe puts a Mexican spin on the stuffed shells concept, which usually is more of an Italian dish. I love anything with spicy Mexican flavor so I figured I would like these, but I was surprised that they really went over so well with everyone. If you have teenagers, this will be a huge hit with them! This can be prepared ahead of time also and baked right before serving which is nice for company or busy days! Here is what you will need;
16 Jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 to 2lbs. of ground chuck
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 16 oz. jar of picante sauce or salsa
1 cup taco sauce
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese
chopped green onions
fresh cilantro leaves
sliced black olives
Cook the pasta shells as directed on the package, undercooking by about 1 minute. Drain well in a colander.
Brown the ground chuck in skillet that has a lid. Drain any excess grease, if any. Add the taco seasoning and the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and add the cubed cream cheese. Cover with the lid until cream cheese softens and melts. Stir to blend.
Pour the picante sauce or salsa in a 9"x13" baking dish. Stuff each of the shells with the beef mixture. Lay the shells on the picante or salsa in the pan. You don't have to be real neat with this, as you can tell I wasn't, because it gets all covered up with cheese anyway! Drizzle the filling in each shell with about 1 Tablespoon or so of Taco Sauce!
Sprinkle each shell generously with the shredded cheese. Cover with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and place back in oven for about 5 to 10 minutes just to be sure the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Remove from oven and garnish as desired. I used green onions and cilantro. You can just let each person garnish their own also! Sour cream is good on these!