Thursday, March 3, 2016

Taco Stuffed Shells 2.0

Lately, I've been on a Mexican/Southwest/Southern cooking streak so I decided it was time to revisit an old recipe for Taco Stuffed Shells. The original recipe is from the Plain Chicken blog and is super delish but very high in calories and fat. Okay for an indulgence for not so great for an everyday meal. 
In my recipe makeover, I decided to replace half the ground beef with black beans, corn and zucchini. I also omitted the cheese in the filling and cut the cheese topping in half. Sliced olives and chopped cilantro add so much flavor you won't even miss the extra cheese!

Pre-olive sprinkling!

Taco Stuffed Shells 2.0
Serves 6-8

24 jumbo pasta shells
1/2 pound lean ground beef (I use 93 percent lean)
1 zucchini, grated
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup corn
1 can diced green chiles
3-4 Tbsp taco seasoning (I use Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning)
1/4 cup water
1.5 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded (I use 2 percent)
Black olives, sliced, for serving
Cilantro, chopped, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, bring water to a boil then add the jumbo pasta shells. While still slightly undercooked, drain the shells and set aside. You want the pasta slightly undercooked so the shells are easier to stuff and so they don't become mushy and overdone while baking.

In a large, deep-side skillet, brown and crumble ground beef. Add the grated zucchini and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini is softened. Mix in the black beans, corn and green chiles, then add the taco seasoning and water. Simmer over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and warmed through. 

Add a thin layer of enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Stuff each pasta shell with the ground beef mixture and place in the casserole dish. Top shells with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. 

Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. When plating, top each serving with sliced olives and chopped cilantro. 

Tell me: What is your favorite taco topping?

- ST

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