See You Next Spring!


When the temperature drops below 70 degrees, you won't be seeing me out and about unless it's absolutely necessary. The least little drop in temperature and loss of humidity turns me into a frigid Ice Queen and makes me want to shut myself up in the warm confines of my house until next spring. (Okay, so according to a few of my former husbands, I'm an Ice Queen pretty much any time of year but that's a different story altogether.) I just wish it could stay the perfect temperature of 72.5 all year long.

But I suppose if the temperatures never changed, there would be no need for warm comfort foods such as these South of the Border Shells (affectionately referred to as SOBs in my household). These delicious shells offer a twist on typical Italian themed stuffed shells because they are stuffed with a combination of ground beef, green chilies, and Southwestern spices then topped with picante sauce. I highly recommend using a medium or hot (if you dare) picante to give the shells a boost of flavor.

When these appear on the Wish Upon A Chef menu, you can bet that my summer clothes have already been archived to the back of the closet, the fuzzy blanket is on the bed and the heat pump thermostat is pegged to a nice, toasty temperature. I'll see you folks when I'm finished hibernating, but in the meantime enjoy these SOBs!

South of the Border Stuffed Shells
Source: ilovepasta.org
Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 16 oz. jar picante sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 medium onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 4 oz. can green chilies -- chopped
1/2 cup canned corn -- drained
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese -- grated

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain.

Mix picante sauce, tomato sauce and water in small bowl. In a skillet, cook onion, garlic and ground beef in oil over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender (if using non-stick skillet, use only 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil). Remove from heat and drain off fat. Add chili powder, chopped green chilies, corn, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 1/2 cup picante sauce mixture to meat mixture.

Preheat oven to 350. Pour half of remaining picante sauce mixture in bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Fill each cooked shell with 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture and place shells in baking dish. Pour remaining picante mixture over top of shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover, add remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

* This recipe can be assembled and frozen. To bake, thaw at room temperature for 8 hours and bake as directed above.

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