Mexican Stuffed Shells

More pantry clearing out for me!  My little family of 4 isn't quite big enough to use an entire box of pasta
shells.  So I usually end up with half a box leftover, sitting in my pantry, forever.  Along with the half eaten box of pop tarts.  I also have a good stockpile of salsa.  One of our favorite snacks is good old salsa and chips.  So rather than try to make a typical pasta recipe with marinara sauce, I thought I'd try my hand at a southwestern twist.

I've seen plenty of these recipes floating around, with most of them being a simple meat and cheese recipe.  But I wanted something with a little more substance.  Grab a can of black beans and corn out of the pantry.  And I had to add my favorite garden herb - cilantro.  When I added all these to a basic taco meat, it was perfect.  Another great recipe as a result of wanting what was in my pantry instead of wasting it.

Mexican Stuffed Shells


1/2 box pasta shells
1 lb. ground turkey
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup water
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/2 can (1 cup) black beans, rinsed
1/2 can (1 cup) corn, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cup salsa
2 cups taco sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 avocado, seeded and cubed


1. Cook pasta shells according to package instructions.  After draining, place shells on parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to each other.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

3. In a large skillet, brown ground turkey over medium heat.  Once browned, add olive oil and toss with ground turkey.  Add chopped onion and cook until translucent.  Add water and taco seasoning.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes to thicken sauce.

4. Add cream cheese to skillet and stir constantly with meat until cheese melts.  Remove from heat.  Add beans, corn, and cilantro.  Stir until combined.

5. Pour salsa into bottom of pan.  Using a spoon, fill shells with meat mixture and place into pan.  Pour taco sauce over the shells, making sure to cover all the exposed pasta.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and cubed avocado.

6.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Serve with more sliced avocado and sour cream.

Serves 8