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The Betty Crocker Project : Mexi Shells

Easter was very inconvenient this year.

We had big plans for organic Cuban beans and whole wheat shells from Trader Joe’s and Daiya soy cheese . . . but apparently corporate America is not as heartless as one would think and store after store was closed. Tapping into an another aspect of American spirit  – we made it through or as our our good friend The Rev would say we “Git ‘er Done”. . . I might be using that term incorrectly. We’re Northerners.

We made more than a few tweaks and substitutions to Betty’s Mexi Shell Recipe. There was a general pleasant blandness to her recipe that I could see being beneficial in a big family setting. Where everyone can add their own salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste. But there are only 2 of us and I can’t really handle bland. I just feel like it is unfinished or lazy or something. Our food has wine, liquid smoke, soy sauce . . . when our food hits the table – it is just right. . . for us. So having said that – you’ll notice a lot of “tweaks” to this recipe and also a glimpse to how we roll over here.


  • 1 Package Jumbo Pasta Shells ( uncooked )
  • 2 8oz Cans of Organic Tomatoes ( Mexican Flavor )
  • 2 8oz Cans of Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder ( we used a Chipotle version )
  • 4 Dashes of Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Package Gimme Lean – Beef
  • 1/2 1 Large Red Onion ( diced )
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
    1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Can Chopped Green Chilies
  • 1 Can Organic Black Beans ( drained )
  • 1 Tablespoon of Braggs
  • 1 Cup Shredded Follow Your Heart Soy Cheese – Mozzarella
  • 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • Olive Oil for cooking

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook Pasta Shells – using instructions on Box.

In a bowl, mix Tomatoes, Sauce, Flour, Nutritional Yeast, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Texas Pete and 2 teaspoons of Cumin. Set aside.

Unwrap Gimme Lean and roll into balls that would fit into the shells. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, heat oil and cook the Gimme Lean and Onions till they start to brown. Then add the can of Black Beans, Braggs and Green Chilies. Continue to cook till the onion have carmelized and the Gimme Lean is completely cooked.

In an ungreased 13×9 inch glass baking dish, spread one cup of the Tomato Sauce mix. Fill each shell with the Gimme Lean & Beans mix and place in the dish with the filled side up. With a ladle pour about half the remaining Tomato sauce mix over the shells. Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast and Follow Your Heart Cheese and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes – till cheese gets to the level of melting you like.

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