With all the frantic holiday planning and preparations this time of year, it can be difficult to cook something “interesting” for a weekday dinner. A study in 2009 found that the average cook relied on just nine recipes they rotate through, with fast recipes chosen more often over healthy ones. Today’s recipe is one of our quick and easy mainstays, but with one little change: we’re replacing tortillas with pasta shells! OMG this is good! Let’s get cookin’!
1 lb ground meat (we used beef)
1 packet taco seasoning (we used Mild, but you can also find Spicy or Gluten Free at your grocers)
1 15 oz can of tomato puree
1/2 package of pasta shells
~2 cups of grated cheese (we used dairy free cheese in Monterey Jack and Cheddar flavors)
Optional: sour cream, cilantro, green onions, hot sauce
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by spreading a thin coating of butter to keep the pasta from sticking.
While the beef is browning in a skillet, heat a pot of water to boiling for the pasta. When the beef is done remove excess oil and add the Taco Seasoning but omit the water. Stir. After the seasoning is incorporated add in the tomato puree and stir to combine evenly. Once it begins to bubble remove from heat and set aside.
Cook your pasta until almost done (so on the chewier side of al dente), remember – you’re going to bake the shells later. Once the pasta is ready pour into a sieve and cool with cold running water (your basically stopping the cooking process).
Now it’s time to combine all the parts: Fill each shell with a tablespoon or two of the meat mixture then place into an even layer in the baking pan. When all the shells are full, sprinkle the cheese over the top, then bake about 15-20 mins or until the cheese melts.
Serve topped with salsa, sour cream, cilantro, green onions, and/or hot sauce.