24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1/2 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 large carrot, shredded
3 green onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
1 can (6 ounces) french-fried onions, divided
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and pork over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 8-10 minutes; drain. Add carrot, green onions and garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chiles, 1 cup cheese, half of the fried onions and the cilantro. In a large bowl combine picante sauce, tomato sauce and water; stir 1 cup picante mixture into pan.
3. Spread 1 cup remaining picante mixture into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Fill pasta shells with meat mixture; place in baking dish, overlapping ends slightly. Top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover; top with remaining cheese and remaining fried onions. Bake until cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 35 min. YIELD: 8 servings.