Sunday, July 3, 2011

Taco mac and cheese

Although this recipe was called mac and cheese, the original definitely didn't have enough cheese to be called that (In my opinion of course.)  Even with the addition of extra cheese, I still wouldn't call it mac and cheese as much as a skillet taco casserole or something.  The original recipe was from $5 dinner mom, but my recipe is very different.  I would have been making something very similar to the southwest chicken pasta salad I have made last week, so I changed it up a good deal - still sticking with the southwest/taco theme, but going with a smoky chipotle flavor rather than a mix of cayenne and green chilies.  I was happy with the results.  I could definitely have added a bit more spice, but I always err on the side of too little.  People wanting more can always sprinkle extra.
My other large change was that I thought this had WAY too many noodles for 1 meal.  I doubled the meat and added beans and called it 2 meals.  I put 1/2 in the freezer.  I've done that a lot this past week.  Ought to make for an easy week of cooking later on - maybe the first week back to school or something when life gets busy.  :)
This meal could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the beef and adding another can of beans.

yield - at least 12 servings (I made it and froze the left overs - may have even been more than 1/2.)


  • 1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I use pre-cooked)
  • 1 15 oz. can pinto beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I like the petite diced)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese (I used more - sorry to say I don't know how much - probalby more like 2 -2.5 cups)
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside
  2. Meanwhile, cook ground beef in a skillet (if not using pre-cooked you may want to add some diced onion, salt and pepper) or toss pre-cooked in a skillet with garlic powder, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and milk.  Stir in cayenne and cumin and simmer for aobut 10 minutes.
  3. Add macaroni and cheese to the beef mixture and stir to combine/melt the cheese. 

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