This is a super easy recipe for beef and shells that the whole family will love. It’s packed with flavor, and the best part is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make! This post contains affiliate links.
This week’s meal is another one that brings back memories for me. My mom used to make beef and noodles all the time, and it was always one of my favorite meals. I decided to switch it up a bit and use shells instead of noodles, and the end result was fantastic! The creamy, cheesy, thick sauce paired perfectly with the beef and shells, and my whole family loved it.
If you’re looking for an easy, yet delicious weeknight meal, then this is the recipe for you! Simply follow the steps below to get started.
This recipe is a great way to use one pound of ground beef! With the exception of the meat and dairy products you can find most of the ingredients needed right in your pantry!
Meat – You can swap the lean ground beef for chicken or even ground turkey. Just ne sure to use chicken broth if you use poultry. I love the ButcherBox brand of ground beef! They often give away freebies and have delicious meat and seafood delivered right to your door! Right now it is Lobster and strip Steak!
Cheese – Cream cheese is used to make this recipe creamier. However, you can swap the cream cheese for sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt.
I used white sharp cheddar, but you could use yellow shredded cheddar as well.
Pasta – If you do not have shells macaroni, penne, or even rigatoni could work.
Broth – As written, this recipe uses low-sodium beef broth but you could use Better than Bouillon to prepare it with water, or bouillon cubes.
Spices – I prefer this spice blend for balance. However, you can use what spices you enjoy. If you do not have fresh garlic you can use minced or garlic powder.
Making Creamy Beef and Shells
In cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened drain any excess fat.
Over medium heat, sprinkle the flour over the beef and stir until no longer white.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, pepper sauce, salt, and paprika. Bring to a simmer for about 7 minutes.
Cook pasta until about 2 minutes before being al dente. This will prevent it from being too gummy.
Stir in the cream cheese, and cream mixing until combined.
Add the cheddar cheese, and stir until creamy, and deep orange in color.
Drain the shells, and add them to the meat mixture, and stir.
Serve warm with fresh parsley or parmesan cheese before serving.
Have leftovers? This meal is very easy to store in the refrigerator and freezer.
Refrigerating and freezing creamy beef with shells is a great way to keep this dish fresh and ready to eat. To refrigerate the dish, first make sure that it is completely cooled down. Then, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It will last in the fridge for up to four days.
To freeze the dish, first place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then, freeze it for up to two months. When you are ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge overnight or microwave it until it is heated through.
More Family-Friendly Pasta Recipes
Looking for more pasta-based recipes to feed your family? Check out some of our favorites below!
- Baked Four Cheese Marinara
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Mussels Pasta
- Bacon, Spinach Caramelized Onion Pasta
- Chicken Bacon Pasta
That’s all there is to it! In just 30 minutes you can have a delicious, hearty meal that the whole family will love. So next time you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner idea, give this recipe for creamy beef and shells a try. You won’t be disappointed!
How to Make Creamy Beef and Shells
- Large cast iron skillet
- cutting board
- Measuring Cups & spoons
- 1 pound ground beef 85% or higher
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth *low sodium variety
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese Freshly grated for best meltability
- 12 ounces shells *cooked until almost al dente (about 2 minutes before it is done)
- In cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened drain any excess fat.
- Over medium heat, sprinkle the flour over the beef and stir until no longer white.
- Add the tomato sauce, broth tomato paste, Italian seasoning, pepper sauce, salt, and paprika. Bring to a simmer for about 7 minutes.
- Cook pasta until about 2 minutes before being al dente. This will prevent it from being too gummy.
- Stir in the cream cheese, and heavy cream mixing until combined.
- Add the cheddar cheese, and stir until creamy, and deep orange in color.
- Drain the shells, and add them to the meat mixture, and stir.
- Serve warm with fresh parsley or parmesan cheese before serving.
Came out great and was a big hit! Made minor substitutions for personal dietary considerations (half & half instead of heavy cream, worcestershire instead of hot sauce)-either way you can’t go wrong!
Before seeing the update, I’d added the broth as a separate step after stirring in the flour-stirred for a minute or two as it thickened, then added the tomato products and seasonings. Probably an unnecessary step but it did come out thick & creamy-perfect for this cold, rainy October day!!
Amy Desrosiers says
Sorry about that! Updated! Yes, with the tomato products. :)
Recipe instructions do not mention when to add broth…guessing it is with sauce, paste, etc?