Friday, July 29, 2011

Taco Macaroni and Cheese

Back in the days when I thought cooking meant “opening a box of this or that and adding some stuff to it and calling it dinner,” these are two of the dishes I used to make for me and Joe pretty often: 1.) Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni topped with salsa and sour cream; and 2.) Velveeta shells and cheese with taco-seasoned ground beef added. Although I haven’t made either of these dishes for literally years, these are still two of the things Joe craves. When he mentioned this craving to me recently, I decided to make a somewhat less-processed hybrid version of the two dishes for him, and this taco macaroni and cheese was the result.

I must say, this mac and cheese was quite delicious, and definitely tastier than the made-from-a-box versions we ate so many years ago. It’s spicy and satisfying, and Joe was definitely a happy camper the night he had this for dinner. I’ll be making it for him whenever he requests it (which I’m sure will be often), because I loved it just as much as he did.

Taco Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound macaroni or shell pasta
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serving of taco seasoning (or 1 packet of store-bought seasoning mix)
1 cup salsa
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and sweat the onion together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the beef is completely cooked through, drain off excess fat, return to skillet, and add garlic. Cook and stir 30 seconds. Add taco seasoning and salsa and stir to combine; reduce heat to low.

3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add cream cheese, milk, and sour cream and stir to combine. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thick and bubbling. Stir in shredded cheese.

4. Add cheese sauce and ground beef mixture to pasta and stir to combine. Top each serving with salsa and sour cream, if desired.


Macaroni and Cheesecake said...

This looks so creamy & delicious! My mouth is watering!

Anonymous said...

So funny because this was one of my favorite quick meals to make when I was being lazy! Glad to see a healthier alternative!

Anonymous said...

I just made this recipe and it was so much! It easily fed my family of four (four adults) and there was a ton left over. It was delicious, but I'm going to add more cheese the next time I make it.

Anonymous said...

I just made this and the cheese sauce was so liquid-y. I followed to exact recipe. Does the sauce thicken as it stands?

Leonie said...

It look delicious! I'll try it tonight!

Tanja said...

Love it!! It's wonderfull!!

Anonymous said...

This is ssoo good, but need to cut the cheese sauce portions in half!!! I followed the recipe exactly and it made a ton of cheese sauce!!

daniela @ foodrecipeshq said...

Hopefully is not too caloric. So good!

Kim said...

Hubby and I thought it was good. Kids acted like they were being tortured.

Katie said...

Made this for dinner tonight! Super good. I added some chili seasoning to the sauce though just to give it a little extra flavor! Good meal for college students on a tight budget!

Anonymous said...

Delicious! We are a veggie family and used a meat substitute in place of ground beef. Will definitely be making this again!

Anonymous said...

Yum! Have made this twice. I used rotel instead of it that kick of spice and tomatoeswithout making it too liquidy. One of my favorite easy dishes!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried subbing out the cream cheese and/or sour cream for greek yogurt? Just wondering what it would do to the consistency of the sauce... thanks!

Unknown said...

I was a little skeptical at first because i am not a fan of cooking with cream cheese(it belongs on a bagel to me haha). Tried this out and it was delicious!!!

Anonymous said...

I used Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and it turned out great. I also only used 1/2 the amt. of cream cheese and 1/2 the amt. of milk, and it was still very creamy.

Laura said...

Made this tonight and it was very very good, but I also had too much cheese sauce. At first I thought it was because I cut the pasta down a bit since I use gluten free pasta and it's very expensive. Next time I'll cut the milk down to 1 cup. But the 8 year old who is very opinionated about what he will eat asked for seconds, so that automatically means this is a keeper.

Shelby H. said...

This was AWESOME! Thanks for a great recipe! I, fortunately did not run into the problem of it being too liquid-y and I followed the directions to a T. This will definitely be a keeper in my household :)

Anonymous said...

I made this recipe with some changes according to personal taste. It was so good! (My changes: lean ground turkey instead of beef, light cream cheese amd sour cream, lessened the milk by .5 cup, and used low sodium taco seasoning. Tonight I added tarragon and curry powder to the leftovers for a bit of a good!) Will definitely make again.

Anonymous said...

what kind of.salsa did you use?

Unknown said...

Loved it but my cheese came out a lil clumpy. I don't think I cooked the cheese long enough b4 I missed all together.

Anonymous said...

Mine came out clumpy cheese too. It was nothing to look at, but it tasted good.

April said...

Made this tonight, me and the hubby both felt this was bland.. could use more flavor for sure. Sauce was liquid-y. On the plus side it did make a ton! I'm too lazy to try and make this work for more flavor. Was extremely close to hamburger helper. Wasn't a hit for us, won't be making it again.

Jessica said...

This is a HUGE hit for my entire family. My husband LOVES it, My extremely picky 7 year old son & 2 year old daughter LOVE it (HUGE PLUS!!!) This is dinner tonight for us!!

SusieC said...

I know this post is *ages* old, but I wanted to stop by and say that I made this tonight and it was delicious! Being the lazy cook that I am, I turned it into a 'One Pot Wonder'. I used the same ingredients and quantities plus a 32 oz container of chicken broth. I browned the beef, onion, garlic and taco seasonings together per instructions. Then I added the salsa, the pasta, a can of drained and rinsed black beans (another addition) and the chicken broth to the same pot. I covered it and simmered for about ten minutes until the pasta was just slightly underdone and most of the liquid had been absorbed. If the liquid gets absorbed before the pasta is done, just add water a 1/2 cup at a time. I turned the stove to low and let the mixture cool down to a slow bubble, then added the cheese, cream cheese, and milk (actually half and half because I had some I needed to use up). Then I stirred until everything was combined and the sauce was smooth and creamy. Just as I'm typing this, I realize I never added the sour cream. Because I used the half and half, I didn't notice, but I bet it would have been even better and more 'Mexican' had I used it. Thanks for the great recipe!

Unknown said...

I don’t know if this happen to anyone else but when i was making the cheese sauce it separated & stayed that way. I followed the recipe to a T .

Michelle Heber said...

Gee people .. just add the cream cheese and the sour cream right in the pot with the meat and macaromi mix.. add milk if need be to thin it, and then add your shredded cheese. Why make it so complicated?

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Ashley Boyle said...

That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing! Just wondering what size pot did you use?

Anonymous said...

If you put the pasta in and let it cook in the cheese instead of boil it, it soaks up the liquid. And it makes the pasta yummy!