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Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Here's a kid-friendly dish so flavorful and fun, nobody is likely to guess that it's also lower in fat. It's a great family supper for busy weeknights! —Anne Thomsen, Westchester, Ohio
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) taco sauce, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 20 baked tortilla chip scoops, coarsely crushed


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook and crumble beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cream cheese and 1/2 cup taco sauce until blended. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
  • Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling into each shell. Place in an 11x7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining taco sauce.
  • Bake, covered, until heated through, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chips.
  • Freeze option: Cool unbaked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover casserole with foil; bake as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Top with cheese and chips as directed.
Nutrition Facts
3 stuffed shells: 384 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 665mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 33g protein.

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  • Sheila Lynn
    Oct 10, 2020

    My family loves this meal, it is a favorite dish at potlucks as well, I add ground Cumin for a more taco flavor and have used half chorizo or sausage at times. Always a hit at our house

  • dilbert098
    Apr 10, 2019

    Yum and quick

  • pjwheeler
    Jan 31, 2019

    I have been unable to find gluten free pasta shells so I cannot make this for my wife as written. I will try de-constructing the recipe by using gluten free pasta (rotini or bow-tie) and let you know how it turns out. Since deconstruction involves making the filling and adding the (to be stuffed - like the pasta) to it and combining it into a casserole, it will also be faster and easier without sacrificing the flavor

  • wintermom9597
    Oct 24, 2018

    Delicious recipe as written! I would, next time, add some diced onion to the meat when I brown it (I used ground turkey breast) and I would sprinkle sliced green onions on top when it comes out of the oven.

  • Gina
    Dec 17, 2017

    My kids loved this recipe and couldn't wait to eat it after they smelled it in the oven. Great recipe! I added some diced tomatoes throughout and it was very good.

  • ajsod
    Sep 19, 2017

    Excellent recipe and a great freezer meal! Definitely worth the time it took to stuff the shells.

  • amehart
    Jan 19, 2017

    My daughter has been after me to make these and now I'm sorry it took me so long as they are delicious! Simple to put together and I made them ahead of time, so it was easy to pop in the oven for dinner. Added some sour cream on top when serving and they were perfect! Will definitely be making again.

  • daisymae44
    Nov 3, 2015

    The grandkids loved it and it was simple to make.

  • xlsalbums
    Sep 12, 2015

    I will make this again!!! Everyone loved it! You could add veggies to this. I added some corn.

  • twinkiedog
    Jul 18, 2015

    Good. Freezes well, I just let it defrost in the fridge overnight and cooked as usual.