Mexican Stuffed Shells

This is one the most favorite dishes that we prepare in my class.  Everybody loves this!  I have former students that call me because they have lost their recipe and please can I send it because they are dying to make them.    This has been around for quite a while. In fact a students found the recipe and brought it to me to try.  It appeared on a can of Durkee’s French Fried onion rings.  You can view it here on their site.  

You will probably be surprised when I tell you that this is not the easiest recipe for students to grasp.  There are many steps and it is hard for them process all of them.  Even with a demonstration and much discussion they will ask me a million questions and still some will not get it quite right.  

So how did my classes do with Mexican Stuffed Shells? 


 This is really the first recipe we have prepared having some prep the day before so that the main dish could be enjoyed without hurrying to clean the kitchen.  You can do some things ahead of time, too.   The ground meat can be browned and drained.  It can be frozen for up to a month.  The cheese grated and stored in the refrigerator.  The shells can be cooked ahead of time, but I do not recommend it.  We only do this to save time in the classroom.   Overall it was a success.  The food was definitely enjoyed .  There was not one shell left and all of the students were full and satisfied. 

This is also a favorite at our house if the family can get me to cook them.  After preparing and tasting  them at least 25 times a year sometimes it is just not something that I want to serve again at home, but you will not have that problem so go ahead and indulge.   

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy: 

Mexican Stuffed Shells 

  • 1 lb. Ground beef browned and drained
  • 12 – 15 large shells cooked according to directions
  • 1 12 ounce jar mild picante sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped chilies
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese shredded ( I use more)
  • 1 2.8 ounce can Durkee French Fried onions

You will need 2 mixing bowls.  In one bowl combine picante sauce, water,  and tomato sauce.  In another bowl place the browned ground meat adding 1/2 cup of the mixed sauce, along with the chilies, 1/2 cup of cheese, and 1/2 can of the onions.  Mix well.  Pour half the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch oven proof casserole dish.  Stuff shell with the ground beef mixture.  Arrange shells in the baking dish.  Pour the remaining sauce over shells.  Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Top with the remaining onions and cheese and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.  

Here are the photos of what the class cooked up. 

1st Block Kitchen 1

1st Block Kitchen 2

1st Block Kitchen 4

1st Block Kitchen 5

1st Block Kitchen 6

2nd block Kitchen 1

2nd Block Kitchen 2

2nd Block Kitchen 3

2nd Block Kitchen 4

2nd block Kitchen 5

2nd Block Kitchen 6

Happy cooking,

The Teacher Cooks



Filed under Mexican stuffed shells

62 responses to “Mexican Stuffed Shells

  1. Rachel S.

    I am really glad i learned to make these. They were very good! (: I learned to be more careful with the shells because a few tore a little.

  2. Chelsea

    i learned that making these stuffed shells can be very time consuming.

  3. Alexis A

    I learned a lot from this activity. I learned that when adding salsa and water you can put the water in the salsa container to get all the remains, and that cooked shells rip easily. It was a fun lab! 🙂

  4. Marianna

    I learned that if one person is preparing this dish it will take longer than it would with four people.

  5. Haylee W

    I’ve learned that if you cook the shells and put them in the fridge, when you take them back out they will be stuck together. lol 🙂

  6. tommie 1st period

    I learned that if you cooked the shells the day before that they will stick together and rip a part.

  7. Kamryn Storey

    While making this recipe, I learned that these tasted a lot like lasagna !

  8. anna 1st

    I learned you should cook the noddles while making other food so they do not tear

  9. Danielle Rogers

    I learned that putting the sauce on the bottom of the pan made the shells not stick and it also gave the shells more flavor

  10. mike "da beast" neal

    I learned that the shells although rubberlike will break easily even if you mess with them to hard.

  11. bethany bowlin

    I learned that leaving some sauce in the dich underneath the shells gave it extra sauce and helped it not stick.

  12. Aaron Vantrees

    one thing i leraned about making the stuffed shells is that team making the shells(noodles) and grounding your meat ahead of time, and you can get done a lot quicker.

  13. Tatiana G 1st period

    I learn there are many different types of lasagna and they don’t all take a lot of time to make. This one was quicker and a great dinner meal for a family

  14. chasity wilson

    i learned how to stuff shells and make something interestig

  15. shalynne w

    wow i learned a lot of new things about making stuffed shells, that really was a eye opener.
    sucha as how many different types there is.

  16. Gosh, that sounds good! I adore both stuffed shells and Mexican food. I love the photo from 1st Block Kitchen 4.

    I wonder, could you substitute crispy shallots for the fried onions?

  17. Tori B

    I learned that you can cook the noodles and beef before hand to make time go by quicker when preparing the dish (:

  18. Naomi

    I learned how to stuff shells and that if you add sauce to the bottom of the dish the ingredients wont stick.

  19. cynthia I

    i learned that after browing & draining the ground beef you can also freeze it for a month & it will still be as good 🙂

  20. Vaida R.

    These Mexican Stuff Shells were delicious and a task to make.

  21. Co founder of TNT Chef Tyler D. Burnett

    My business partner Tori Bowen and i learned alot from this activity. We discovered that we work exceptionally well together when the task at hand is more grevious than not. We also learned to “Guess and Check” when microwaving ingredients that have been stored and cooled overnight in a refridgerator, and as usual they tasted fantastic

  22. erika

    These were really good ! i enjoyed them…


    I learned you need to keep a lid on a pot when you are boiling water.

  24. amber gillis

    i learned the making noodles isn’t as easy as it seems 🙂 i thought it only took 5 minutes to make but nope i was wrong
    but i definately enjoyed these wonderful shells they were delicious

  25. Andre

    Its better to keep the scheels on the same plate because they fall apart easily

  26. Sarah J.

    I learned that if you cook the noodles the day before it will save you time and still taste just as good. 🙂

  27. tania

    i learned that you put some of the sauce on the casserole before putting the shells so that way it wont stick

  28. Courtney E

    These were so yummy when we made them in class! My favorite lab by far! I also learned that you are not supposed to cover the pot when cooking noodles! 🙂

  29. kim s. 2nd period

    i didn’t think you were supposed to put fried onions in a stuffed shell recipe. it was delicious though.

  30. Sasha

    I was going to make these this weekend but i forgot! i might just make it this weekend instead for my parents, since its such a easy dinner to make:)

  31. Levi Atkinson

    The cheese is beautifully melted and the stuffed shells look absolutely scrumptious.

  32. Lexxi J

    I learned that when making this dish, you should leave it in the casserole dish and not put it on a separate plate.

  33. Amy w.

    I learned that baking covered keeps the steam inside & cooks it that way also.

  34. Levi Atkinson

    I learned alot from Ms. Lupo’s Stuffed Shells how to stuff the shells with meat and cook them to perfection. The shells were exqusite.

  35. Radiance M

    I learned that you can put the sauce on the bottom of the pan so that the shells won’t stick…. (((:

  36. Popped in to say hi! I bet my husband would love these!

  37. Nice recipe…I’d love them and with extra cheese too! The kids did a good job with them . I have to go with 2nd block kitchen 6 just because I loved the photo!

  38. Jocelyn

    I vote for 2nd Block, Kitchen 6. They had the most creative photo. Looks yummy!

  39. shells stuffed with italian flavors are useless to me. THIS is what i want–spicy and meaty and oh-so-cheesy!

  40. Jennifer (Willford) Tufts 2004 Alumni

    Mrs. Lupo, you’re the best! I still make this recipe even since it’s been 6 years I’ve had your class! I see a “I learned that…” trend on here, so let me give it a try. I learned after many years of cooking this recipe that Chicken is a healthier ingredient. I’ll usually bake it in some really good spices then chop it up and throw it in just like the beef. I’ve also learned (especially being stationed in Okinawa) that Manicoti’s work just as good as the shells. I still like the shells better though, but we just don’t have them here. Mrs. Lupo, You have taught me so much within just one semester. I just want to say Thank- you!
    Sincerly- SrA Jennifer K. Tufts

  41. Brittany- 1st block.

    I learned that you never put pasta in the fridge, they get stuck together and then fall apart! (;

  42. yvonne mcgregor

    i learned people make stuff shells out of other things depending on what you like.

  43. le'Keitha 2nd block

    The mexican shells look so wonderful to eat!!! I would love to try some but can I use chicken instead of ground beef, because I do not eat beef or pork? Anyway the picture of the food makes me hungry looks so tasty..

  44. Le'Keitha 2nd block

    The mexican shells look so wonderful to eat!!! Anyway the picture of the food makes me hungry looks so tasty..

  45. Olivia Jarriel

    I learned that the big shells can be cooked ahead of time to make the process easier and faster… but Mrs. Lupo would not recommend it.

  46. Olivia Jarriel

    I learned that you can cook the big shells ahead of time… but Mrs. Lupo doesn’t recommend it.

  47. Matthew Busby

    This looks like a very good dish and i cant wait to cook in your class!!!

  48. Earl

    My youngest brother showed me how to make this dish years ago. I make it now and then with a slight variation by using Kraft Shredded Mexican cheese. Since his passing due to a heart attack last June, I may make this dish at the next family gathering in memory of him

  49. jessica v

    this was my absolute favorite lab out of the whole year! i learned that those dried onion things give the food a very good flavor mixing with the sauce and chesse.

  50. Kaitlyn C

    i learned that , you can stuff the shells as much as you want . and if you have any of the filling left , you can just dump it on top of the shells ! Also you Can Use as Much Cheese as You Want Before You Put It Back In To Bake For 5 Mins 😛

  51. Gifty

    these stuffed shells were probably one of the best things ive made in class. they were filling and quite easy to make and dont take as long to make as i thought they would.

  52. natasha

    These were the best things I have ever tasted in my whole entire life. I learned that if you don’t want the shells to stick to the pan you add the sauce which will also make it more flavorful.

  53. Gifty

    these were probably one of the best things i made in class. they are filling and eay to make and i carry most of this in my pantry too!

  54. candi

    these mexican stuffed shells were easy to make and very good.. i didnt know that manterery jack cheese woukd add more of a spice to the sheels..

  55. Summer

    i learned you have to be very careful when cooking the shells because they can fall apart very easily.

  56. miracle

    The Mexican stuffed shells was a great lab, it was actually my favorite I learned that sprinkling French Fried onions gives a crunchy flavor

  57. Chelsea M

    These were one of my favorites! They tasted so good! I learned that there are a lot of ways to make them, but the most delicious way is the way you cooked them !

  58. Alison C*

    I noticed that the shells break easily when you are stuffing them if you are not careful.

  59. Paige Horton

    I believe a CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA box is a share that contains farm products (vegatables) in it. When Consumers purchase a share from the farmers then they get a CSA box in return.

  60. Teri R

    I made my own variation of this recipe. I use mediums shells and mixed it all together similar to a baked ziti. I use a lot of the fried onions and a lot of cheese. 1 cup would never do lol

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