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    Entries in pasta (9)

    Wednesday
    Sep102014

    Tacos In Pasta Shells

    I'm am happy to say that after crossing the country and spending more than 3 months in a hotel, we have finally found a house to settle into!

    During the hotel time, we didn't exactly have a kitchen. A fridge, a microwave, and a dishwasher, along with a sink with a disposer. Not really suitable for cooking much of anything. As you can imagine, we have been more than dying for a home cooked meal. In fact, I imagine it will be awhile before I have the desire to eat another French fry. So I asked Hubby what he wanted for his first home cooked meal in the new place, and he instantly blurted out tacos in pasta shells. Who was I to argue? So although I posted this years ago, I think it deserves a revisit.  Enjoy!

    Ok, let’s be honest here, this isn’t the prettiest food ever made.  What it lacks in beauty, however, it more than makes up for in flavor.  I don’t know if I can say for certain that this is my husband’s favorite meal I make, but it’s definitely top three. 

    Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this fabulous creation, and I have no idea who to give credit to for it.  I got the recipe from my sister-in-law, who got it from a church cookbook, I believe.  I have made very few changes to the original I was given, so a big thanks to whomever the original creator may have been. 

    Alright, let’s get started.  Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1.25 Pounds lean ground beef
    • 8 oz. cream cheese
    • 5-6 green onions
    • 1 Large bottle of Taco Sauce
    • 3 cups grated cheese (I used Colby jack and extra sharp cheddar)
    • 1 box Jumbo Shells Pasta
    • 3 cups broken corn chips 

      

    I forgot to include the ground beef in the picture of ingredients (I'll probably do that a lot), but here it is. 

     

    Chop the green onions and throw them into a bowl with the cream cheese.  Set them aside for now. 

     

    Brown the ground beef, draining excess oil if necessary, and pour the hot meat over the cream cheese.  Yes, that is diced onion you see in my ground beef, and no, I didn’t include it in the list of ingredients.  It’s not strictly necessary, but pretty much, if I’m using ground meat, there is going to be diced onion cooked in with it.  Not only does it add flavor, but when you’re buying organic meat, it can get pretty expensive, and adding onion makes it go a bit further.

     

    Cover the bowl and leave it while you work on the pasta.  Basically just follow the directions on the package.  When it’s cooked, drain it and rinse it with cold water to cool the shells down.  Stir together the meat mixture.  My husband said I couldn’t post a picture of the filling by itself.  He says it looks like brains.  So, let’s just get to the stuffing part.  

    First, this is probably a good time to preheat your oven to 350°.  Also, you’ll need to drizzle the bottom of your pan/pans with taco sauce.  Just enough to keep the shells from sticking.  This recipe makes 24 shells.  I like to separate them into two pans, because with only two of us in the house, that easily feeds us twice.  I just put one pan in the fridge uncooked.  You can plan on about 4-6 shells per person, depending on how hungry everyone is.  

    Ok, stuffing… Gently open a shell and allow the excess water to run off. 

     

    Using a spoon, fill it with meat mixture, but not so full that it can’t close.  I like to overfill them slightly, then squeeze them shut (gentle, they split easily) and wipe any excess off, back into the bowl.

     

    Line them all up in the pan and drizzle them with taco sauce.  Don’t skimp here.

     

    Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Now for the fun part.  Break up your corn chips and sprinkle them over the top.  Looking better by the minute, isn't it? 

     

    Next comes the cheese.  When it comes to cheese, I rarely think a little is sufficient. 

     

    Now pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  It’s amazing what a little heat does to a pile of shredded cheese.  It has now transformed into bubbly, golden, deliciousness. 

     

    Ok, so it kind of looks like nachos in that shot, but it is so much more.  Scoop out the desired number of shells and sprinkle with a few more green onions. 

     

    **Disclaimer**  

    Authors Kitchen is not responsible for discomfort or missing buttons caused from eating “just one more shell”.       

    Tuesday
    Jun042013

    Picatta Pasta Salad

    I'm not fond of eating leftovers, so I remade chicken picatta into a brand new dinner!

    This is another one of those 20 minutes or less super fast dinners. Granted you need leftover chicken picatta, but that was yesterday's dinner, and we won't worry about that right now. Live in the moment! Super fast dinner!

    Picatta Pasta Salad

    • 2-4 pieces of leftover chicken picatta
    • picatta sauce
    • 2-3 cups cooked pasta
    • 1-2 tbsp fresh basil
    • 1-2 tbsp green onion (or red if you prefer)
    • 1-2 tbsp capers
    • 1-2 tbsp artichoke hearts
    • 1-2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
    • 1-2 tbsp olives
    • 1-2 tbsp pine nuts
    • 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
    • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice or wine
    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

    Okay, yes, the measurements are more approximations than anything, but adjust as you need/like/have in the fridge.

    If you have leftover pasta, this dish is even faster than 20 minutes. I didn't have any so I needed a few extra minutes.

    While the water is coming to a boil, collect all the ingredients, and change out of work clothes.

    I like to toast my pinenuts, so I did that in a small dry pan over medium heat. Give the pan a shake from time to time, between ingredient choppings works, and when they're nice and golden, turn the heat off.

    As the pasta boils, chop anything you want chopped.

    If your pasta is freshly boiled, cool it by running it under cold water.

    If you have enough picatta sauce to just use it as the dressing, perfect. Me, I didn't (frankly, I'm not sure there's any such thing as enough picatta sauce) so I extended the dressing with wine and olive oil.

    Combine everything in a nice big bowl and stir it gently.

    If I had any lemon, I probably would have added a bit of lemon zest as well.

    And what do you know, dinner!

    How do you get creative with leftovers?