I bookmarked a recipe for mexican shells a long time ago on allrecipes.com. Every time I've made stuffed shells in the past, it's been more of an Italian dish – often with ricotta cheese as the main filling. So I was intrigued to try this Mexican spin…plus the dish was tagged as "light and healthy" – score.
I ended up altering the recipe quite a bit, and we both loved how it turned out. It definitely has a little kick, so if you don't like spicy, dial back on the seasoning. As with most first time trial dishes, I made a smaller batch than the recipe calls for (it IS just the two of us after all). I used about 2/3 of all ingredients below and baked in an 8×8 pan. Definitely a hearty three servings – four if you have a side dish to pair these with. Otherwise, the recipe in full is as follows:
Mexican Stuffed Shells
(makes about two dozen stuffed shells)
1 package Barilla jumbo shells
2 cans green enchilada sauce
2 can Rotel diced tomatoes (drain excess liquid)
1 (2-cup) bag of shredded reduced fat cheddar
1 8-oz package of reduced fat cream cheese
1 lb. extra lean ground beef (organic if possible)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add shells to water and cook as directed on package. Heat skillet over medium heat and add garlic and onion powder. After one minute, add ground beef and brown. Add taco seasoning.
Using immersion blender or food processor, puree the Rotel tomatoes. Add to meat once no longer pink. Let tomatoes and meat simmer for a couple of minutes, turn heat to low and add cream cheese. Stir until combined and remove from heat.
Run cooked shells under cold water so you can handle them. Pour 1/2 can of enchilada sauce into the bottom of baking dish. Spoon meat mixture into each shell, packing as many into the dish as will fit. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the shells and then layer the shredded cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully spoon out the shells onto plates with plenty of cheesy sauce on top!