Introduction: International Stuffed Shells

About: I think my interests tell a lot about me, I'm a multimedia artist which means I work in whatever medium grabs my attention, paint on canvas is very relaxing and acrylic paint can be mixed with paper to make a …

Stuffed shells are generally considered to be an Italian dish, large pasta shells filled with various cheeses and covered in sauce then baked.

 Stuffed peppers are more internationally known but are generally filled with a ground or minced meat and or rice and vegetables and then baked, in the United States they are often topped with a spaghetti sauce and some kind of cheese.

 This dish combines the two types of stuffed dishes

Step 1: Shopping List

This meal is rather budget friendly if you shop right

 one box of large shells buy one get  for $1.97 and get one free on any pasta and I used half a box of shells
 Taco rice bogo @ $1.39 I used 1 package
  taco seasoning 10 for $5.00  I used half a package
  Ground beef @ $3.39lb I used about half a lb
  Jar of picante sauce @ $2.29
  A couple slices of cheese

Step 2: Mini Ible

 I usually buy ground meat in bulk and store in meal size packages in the freezer. Place the meat in the ziptop bag, flatten it out up to the edge forcing out the air and seal the zipper. the thin packages freeze and thaw quickly and take up little space

Step 3: Getting Started

get a large pot of water heated to a boil, add salt and any other seasonings you like,  place your pasta shells in the water and cook until tender but still firm ( you need toi be able to stuff the shells later) while the water is boiling, brown the ground meat then add the rice and seasoning packet as well as 1/2 a packet of taco seasoning and 3 cups of water, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all moisture is absorbed (stirring occasionally) If you're lucky both pans will be done at the same time, drain the shells and allow both ingredients to cool for a couple minutes

Step 4: Get Stuffed !

spoon your rice mix into the shells and arrange them in an oven proof dish then pour the jar of picante sauce over the stuffed shells, try to cover as much of the shells as possible. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 325f for 45 minutes

Step 5: Getting Cheesie

I suppose I could have used a Mexican type of cheese, or grated some cheddar cheese to go on top but I went with a creamy yellow American sandwich cheese, the dish then went back in the oven for 5minutes until the cheese was melted and then the broiler was turned on and I watched until the cheese had a nice brown crust (love that brown crisp cheese crust)

Step 6: Serve

a salad on the side would be nice as would a glass of fermented juice but honestly I've pulled one of these cold from the refrigerator and just snacked.

 as with any of my "recipes" this is more of a guide, you could add more spice, or beans or corn etc. Tired of taco seasoning? try using a barbeque sauce and seasoning on the meat and rice or do a cheese and broccoli rice with shredded chicken and a cheese or alfredo sauce. Explore, experiment, adapt, ENJOY