How to make taco inspired stuffed shells with ground beef, corn and cheese. Jump to the Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
We loved these Stuffed Shells with Sausage and Spinach so much, we thought why not give another stuffed shell a go and wow are we glad we did. This time we fill large pasta shells with taco spiced ground beef, cheese and a little corn.
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How to Make Taco Stuffed Shells
These taco inspired pasta shells are easy to make.
Start by browning ground beef in a skillet then add taco seasoning. We make our own taco seasoning, but if you want to save a bit of time, buy a packet at the store. Next add some frozen corn as well as some marinara sauce.
When the beef is cooked through, take the pan off the heat and season with hot sauce — use as much or as little as you like. Then crumble in some goat cheese. The goat cheese adds a nice creaminess and just a touch of tang, something that works perfectly against the sweet corn and spices.
Fill the pasta shells with a spoonful of taco filling then sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and top with cheese. Easy!
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Recipe updated, originally posted January 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe
These stuffed shells are perfect for dinner, but make the perfect appetizer when watching the game. When making stuffed shells, add a few more dried pasta shells to the water than you will need since some will rip. The filling for this recipe should fill about 16 shells.
You Will Need
20 jumbo dried pasta shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup marinara sauce, store-bought or see our homemade marinara sauce recipe
4 to 8 dashes hot sauce, depending on taste
2 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, we like using panko
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta shells then follow package directions for cooking the shells. Drain, and then rinse the shells with cold water.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the beef cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the beef up into small pieces in the pan. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and garlic powder, corn and marinara sauce. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a low simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off of the heat then stir in hot sauce and goat cheese. Taste the filling and adjust with salt and/or pepper. Fill each shell with taco filling and arrange into the baking dish.
In a small bowl, stir breadcrumbs with melted butter. Scatter on top of the filled shells then top with the cheddar cheese. Bake until the tips of the shells begin to brown, about 25 minutes.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- The filling can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
- Baked shells freeze well. Let them cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen shells overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
- Filled and unbaked shells can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover the unbaked stuffed shells with foil then bake the next day in a 350 degree F oven.