Here’s a rock-solid ground beef recipe for your clan! My guys love this Cheeseburger-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells casserole and I serve it up year round for them. All the ingredients are likely already on hand in your pantry and you can throw this ground beef dish together in nothing flat. I love to make this recipe in my favorite cast iron skillet. #speedymeal #groundbeef #casserole #skilletmeal
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Howdy! Chef Alli Here.
Are you always seeking recipes that incorporate ground beef? I know I am, that’s for certain. We’ve always got an entire chest freezer loaded with frozen ground beef since we raise cattle and always harvest what we’ve raised. Yes, we make lots of burgers on the grill, but sometimes I know my family wants something new and different.
Cheeseburger-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells are just what the doctor ordered. This recipe is economical, all the ingredients are usually on hand in my pantry and I like how I can make this casserole ahead of time and then bake it when we are ready for supper. It also holds well on warm in the oven until my crew can get finished up with chores and the like around the farm.
How to Make Cheeseburger-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a skillet cook up the onion with the ground beef until no pink remains, crumbling it as it cooks; drain any fats in the skillet. Stir in the ketchup, tomato sauce, mustard, black pepper, and 3/4 cup of the cheese, cooking until this mixture is warm throughout.
Meanwhile, cook the jumbo pasta shells according to package directions. When the pasta shells are ready, use a spoon or a scoop to fill each shell with 2-3 tablespoons of the prepared cheeseburger filling. Place the stuffed shells, side-by-side into a greased 11 x 7 baking dish; cover with foil.
Bake the shells on the center rack of the oven for about 20 minutes, removing the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking time to sprinkle the remaining cheese over the shells, continuing to bake, uncovered, until the casserole is hot and bubbly throughout and the internal temperature at the center of the casserole is 160-165 degrees F.
To serve, top the warm stuffed shells with chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, dill pickles and additional cheese, as desired. If you refrigerate the casserole to bake later, you’ll need to add 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Cheeseburger-Stuffed Pasta Shells
The recipe says to drain the fats from the ground beef. What’s the easiest way to do this task?
Here’s how I do it, though there are many ways: I fold a hot pad in half, then move my skillet from the burner to a spot on my stove that’s not hot, sliding the folded hot pad beneath one side of the skillet so that it tips. Using a spatula, pull all the ground beef in the skillet to the high side of the skillet. As you do so, you’ll notice that the warm fats in the skillet will slide down into the lower side of the tipped skillet. Using a wad of paper towels, place them into the skillet where the fats are located, letting the paper towels sop up the fats. (You may need to take a spatula and press down on the paper towels so they can absorb all the fats since it’s usually too hot to use your fingers.) Remove the paper towels to the trash can, using more if there’s still remaining fats in the skillet.
The recipe says to cook the pasta shells until they are al dente. What does that mean?
Al dente is a cooking term that refers to pasta or rice that is cooked to be firm to the bite, slightly under cooked so that it’s not mushy in texture. When you cook the pasta shells for this recipe, remember that you especially want to under cook them a bit when you boil them since they will be baking in the oven to finish once you’ve filled them with the cheeseburger filling.
Can I bake this pasta in a cast iron skillet?
Yep, and I do that all the time. I love my Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet for baking lots of my casseroles in and it’s the perfect size for this recipe, too. I love to set a big skillet of this Cheeseburger-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells into the center of my table to feed my family – they just go crazy for it. Because cast iron holds heat really well, it will keep the pasta warm for quite a while so it’s great to serve from. Yes, cast iron is super heavy, but I love how versatile it is and how it goes from stove top to oven so easily. Here’s a tip sheet for caring for and seasoning your cast iron cookware, too!
How do you know when a casserole is hot at the center when you’re baking it?
The very best tool for learning if the center of a casserole is nice and hot is to use an instant-read thermometer. It works just great and all you have to do is insert the stem of the instant-read thermometer right into the center of the casserole without touching the sides or the bottom of the pan. 160-165 degrees F. is a hot , steamy, and safe internal temperature for a casserole.
Does this pasta freeze well?
Yes, it does. I usually freeze it before I bake it, but you can actually do it either way. If you freeze it first, you can bake it from frozen. I’d bake it from frozen in a 325 degree oven for about 50-55 minutes, or until hot throughout. The best internal temperature for a casserole is at least 160-165 degrees F. at the center.
Printable Directions for Making Cheeseburger-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells
Cheeseburger Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells
- 16-18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells, cooked until al dente, according to package directions, drained
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 Tbs. dehydrated onion flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce, I like the Hunt's Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce, best
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup prepared mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
- Optional toppings: hamburger dill pickle slices, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook beef and onion until beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes, crumbling the beef as it cooks; drain well; season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
- To prepare the cheeseburger filling, stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard and black pepper into the cooked ground beef until nicely blended; stir in 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
- Spoon approx. 2 tablespoons of the prepared cheeseburger filling into each cooked pasta shell, placing each one into a greased 11”x 7” baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
- Bake, covered, on the center rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- At the last 5 minutes of the baking time, remove the foil and sprinkle the pasta with the remaining cheese; continue to bake until the cheese is nicely melted and the casserole is bubbly and hot throughout, or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 160-165 degrees at the center of the casserole.
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