Raise your hand if Mexican food is one of your favorite ethnic dishes! How about Italian food?! I was torn last week on what to make for dinner, so I combined our family's two favorites (Italian and Mexican) and created these mouth-watering, Mexican-inspired stuffed shells.
As you know, traditional stuffed shells are filled with Italian cheeses and meat, and are lovingly bathed in a savory marinara sauce. For this zestier version, we stuffed taco meat (seasoned with Cherchies® Select Grilling Rub & Seasoning Blend), black beans, Cherchies® Pretty Hot Peppers, and cheese into jumbo pasta shells, and steeped them in salsa for a meal bursting with Mexican flavors.
Add a twist to Taco Tuesday by creating this easy, Mexican dish full of zippy flavor, and serve a meal your family is going to love!
You may want to make a second batch to freeze for later!
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- 1 yellow (sweet) onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) olive oil
- 1 pound (lb) ground turkey or beef
- 3 generous Tablespoons (Tbsp) Cherchies® Select Grilling Rub & Seasoning Blend
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) Minor's Beef Base, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water (could substitute 1 beef bouillion cube dissolved in 1/4 cup water or 1/4 cup prepared beef broth)
- 2 cups of your favorite salsa or pico de gayo, divided in half (Cherchies® Black Bean & Corn Salsa or Cherchies®Vidalia Onion Peach Salsa are our favorites)
- 1 jar Cherchies®Pretty Hot Peppers
- 1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican Cheese blend, plus another cup for topping
- Jumbo Pasta Shells (enough to fit in 8x 11 baking dish), cooked according to package directions, 5 minutes under cooking time.
- 1/4 cup Taco sauce (found in Mexican isle of grocery store)
- small can sliced black olives, drained
- 4 green onions, sliced (optional for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil on medium-low heat until translucent. After onion has cooked, add ground meat, Cherchies® Select Grilling Rub & Seasoning Blend, and beef base or bouillon mixed in water.
Turn heat to low and simmer meat until no longer pink. While meat is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions minus 6 minutes, and drain and set aside. (Shells are easier to fill when they are al dente, plus they won't get mushy when cooked in the oven).
As meat finishes cooking, add Cherchies® Pretty Hot Peppers, 1 cup of salsa/pico de gayo, and the can of black beans to the mixture, stir, and cook for a few more minutes. Next, add 1/2 cup shredded cheese to the meat mixture and stir until melted. Turn off heat and allow the meat to cool for ten minutes. (This will make filling the shells easier).
To a 9x13 baking dish, add the other cup of salsa/pica de gayo, and spread evenly in the pan. After meat and shells have cooled slightly, hold individual shells in hand and fill shells with meat mixture and carefully place in baking dish.
Drizzle Taco sauce over shells, then sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over shells. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Garnish with chopped green onions and olives (optional) and serve!