• 12 ounces elbow shell pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 ounce taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups queso Restless Chipotle homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • green onions
  • taco sauce


Part one

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Cook shells according to package instructions. Do Not Salt! Do not overcook – they’ll fall apart.
  • Drain, rinse, and let cool.

Part two

  • Brown ground beef in a heavy skillet.
  • Sprinkle taco seasoning over the top.
  • Stir in water and simmer until the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in cilantro.

Part three

  • Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Part four

  • Pour the queso over the shells, mixing well
  • Pour into casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the casserole is heated through.
  • Drizzle with taco sauce, sprinkle with green onions and serve.

To bake after freezing

  • Remove the casserole from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  • When ready to fix dinner just bake as directed.


Expert Tip: Don’t add salt! The taco seasoning is salty (I suggest getting a low sodium variety) and the queso is salty. If you salt the meat it will be WAY over salted.

  • For easy stuffing use a cake decorating bag without an end in it. Fill it with the meat and squeeze it into the pasta.
  • Sometimes I add RoTel tomatoes to the cooked ground beef along with the taco seasoning.
  • Use 90/10 lean ground beef or leaner – it keeps the casserole from being greasy and the seasoning adds plenty of flavor.
  • You can substitute ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, or ground venison for the beef in this recipe.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta! It will fall apart when you try to stuff it.
  • If you assemble this dish and freeze it be sure to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
  • Don’t use the packaged shredded cheese. Shred it yourself from a block – the packaged shredded cheese has cellulose on it to keep it from clumping and it won’t melt as nicely as block cheese.
  • Want to make this even easier? Use the small shells and make it into taco mac & cheese.

Velveeta Queso Dip


  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 10 ounces RoTel tomatoes or favorite canned diced tomatoes and chiles



  • Cube the Velveeta and put it in a microwave safe bowl
  • Open the can of Rotel and pour it in – no need to drain.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Stir.
  • Return to the microwave and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • Stir. If it’s not all the way melted microwave it for a few seconds more.
  • Add to a slow cooker and keep on the warm setting.


  • Cube the Velveeta.
  • Spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add the Velveeta to the slow cooker.
  • Dump in the ROTEL.
  • Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, or until the cheese is melted.
  • Stir.
  • Keep on warm setting.


Expert Tip: If you can’t find Velveeta you can use 1 pound of regular or white American cheese instead.

  • If you use a slow cooker for this Rotel queso cheese dip you’ll need about a 3 quart crock-pot.
  • This recipe is easy to double.
  • Depending on the type of Rotel you use this is a spicy dip. If you don’t like any chiles at all you can use plain, diced canned tomatoes.
  • Yes, this Velveeta queso recipe is delicious with tortilla chips… but try dipping pretzels, warm flour tortillas, warm corn tortillas, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and other fresh vegetables!

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