My oldest child was born while my husband was deployed in the first gulf war. Our squadron’s support group organized dinners for me every night until my husband returned 4 weeks later. But that is not all. Whoever brought me dinner packed a lunch for me to enjoy the next day. Seriously.
I have been paying that amazing gift forward for the last 20 years.
One of my favorite dishes to take when a family needs a meal is Enchilada Stuffed Pasta Shells. One of the benefits of this recipe is that it makes enough for two 13 x 9 baking dishes, which means I don’t neglect my family when I am feeding another family. Another benefit is that, in a pinch, a new mom can pick the shells up and eat them like tacos while holding a baby in her other arm.
I don’t like waste, but this is one time where I like to use disposable aluminum pans. Then the family I deliver a meal to does not have to worry about washing the pan or returning it.
1 lb. hamburger
1/2 cup diced onion
3 teaspoons homemade taco seasoning or 1 package taco seasoning
1 3/4 cups cooked black beans or 1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes, do not drain
12 oz. package jumbo shells
2 cups shredded cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup medium salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once it begins boiling add shells and cook according to the package directions.
While the water is heating, cook hamburger and onion over a medium flame until hamburger is browned.
Add taco seasoning, beans, and diced tomatoes. Be sure to add the juice from the diced tomatoes too. Simmer over low heat for for 5 minutes.Remove from heat aside and let cool while the shells cook. Once the meat mixture is close to room temperature, add 2 cups of cheese and mix well.
In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce and salsa. Spoon 1/2 cup of tomato sauce mixture into each 13 x 9 baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After the shells have been drained, spoon meat mixture into each shell and place it in a baking dish.
After all the shells have been filled. Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce mixture over the shells in each baking dish. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over the stuffed shells in each baking dish.
Cover one baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
If you are taking this to another family, you can cover the dish with foil and put the baking directions on a sticky note on top of the foil.
This is also a great “cook one, freeze one” meal. If you are not taking a meal to another family, cover one baking dish with plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator on the day you want to cook the stuffed shells for dinner.
I serve Enchilada Stuffed Pasta Shells with a garden salad and Mexican Rice.
Do you have a dish you share with friends when they are in need of a meal?