Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nacho Stuffed Shells

This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Since the christian symbol for Baptism is the shell, we can easily tie this into our dinner plans by making a meal with pasta shells. One of my favorite recipes, using jumbo shells, is Nacho Stuffed Shells.

I also plan to pull out some sea shells and our children's Baptismal candles, like Mary suggested last year, and light them during dinner. What a perfect time this will be to tell the children about the Baptism of Our Lord and their own special Baptismal days as well!

Nacho Stuffed Shells
Picture & Recipe Source: National Pasta Association

32 to 36 Jumbo Shells (12-oz. package), uncooked
3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
1.25-oz. package low-sodium taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
16-oz. can refried beans with chilies
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup mild, medium or hot picante sauce
8-oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
2-oz. can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Optional Garnishes:
Low-fat sour cream
Low-fat grated Cheddar cheese
Chopped jalapeños
Chopped cilantro

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, saute beef in a large skillet until browned; drain well. Add taco seasoning mix and water; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in beans and cheese. Cook until smooth and well mixed. When pasta is done, drain well. Fill shells with beef mixture (1-2 tbsp. per shell).

Combine picante sauce and tomato sauce in a saucepan. Cook until heated, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Place filled shells side by side on top of sauce; pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Sprinkle with olives. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve immediately.

Garnish as desired. Serves 8.

(This recipe could also be made in honor of St. James the Greater, who is also symbolized with a scallop shell.) Pin It


  1. Yum! These look great Jessica! My husband would love these - they incorporate two of his favorite things; Mexican food and pasta.


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  3. Thank you Spinneretta!! That is very sweet of you!

  4. This was DELICIOUS and a huge hit with the family...might become a tradition!!