If you’re anything like me you’re most likely running out of idea when it comes to dinner lately. Many of us are finding ourselves taking what we can get at the grocery as well. Here in rural Arkansas, that means a lot of ground beef. This delicious and super easy cheesy taco pasta recipe is a great way to put ground beef to work in your kitchen.
This one-pot taco pasta is a great way to use up things you have in the fridge or pantry. You can alter ingredients based on what you have. You can even leave a few things out without affecting the overall dish.
It’s practically foolproof too. Think of it kind of like a homemade Hamburger Helper. I love doing a DIY version of boxed meals because it’s a great way to only put in ingredients you know you can trust.
Ingredients Needed to make Taco Pasta
1 lb organic beef ( or the highest quality you can find/afford)
16 oz bowtie pasta
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning ( I love this DIY Taco Bell Seasoning recipe )
2/3 C water
1 C chunky salsa
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
Directions to Make One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
Ok, I guess this technically isn’t a “one-pot” recipe. I did boil the pasta in its water to help speed things up some. You can always add a little more water to your taco pasta skillet to cook the noodles with everything else. Just cover it for about 12-13 minutes and the pasta should do just fine.
Begin your cheesy taco pasta recipe by cooking your pasta according to the directions on the package. This will vary slightly depending on the brand and shape of pasta that you are using for your taco pasta.
Just about any type of pasta will do just fine. You want to use a shape that your cheesy taco sauce will cling to, and that will work well with the crumbled ground beef. I always go with a bowtie pasta or a shell pasta for this particular pasta recipe.
Brown the ground beef and drain any fat that has rendered off of it. Be sure not to put fat down the drain but rather collect and throw in the trash.
Return the browned ground beef to the pan and add in the taco seasoning mix and water. Stir with a spatula to combine the taco seasoning and the ground beef. Let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the salsa to the seasoned ground beef mixture and stir to combine again. Let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes as well.
Separate the cream cheese into smaller chunks and add to the seasoned ground beef mixture. You can do this as you see fit, but the smaller you can get it the quicker it will melt down an incorporate into the ground beef and salsa mixture to begin to form the cheesy taco pasta base.
Stir with a spatula until the cream cheese is completely melted down and combined into the ground beef mixture.
Pour the seasoned ground beef mixture into the cooking pot with the pasta that you have cooked according to the package and drained. Stir to completely combine, making sure to incorporate all of the ground beef mixtures into the pasta.
Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese into the cooking pot with the pasta and ground beef mixture. I do this about 1/2 C at a time and stir in between each batch of cheese.
Remove from the stovetop once all of the cheese has melted into the taco pasta blend and serve while warm. I will often serve this cheesy taco pasta recipe with a fresh salad to help counteract the heaviness of all of that pasta and cheese.
How to Store Cheesy Taco Pasta
Just like with any skillet recipe you will want to store this cheesy taco pasta recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for about 4-5 days if kept at an appropriate temperature.
Adjusting This Recipe to Your Dietary Needs
There are several ways that you can alter this recipe to meet your family’s dietary needs. For a vegan version of this meal, you can use meatless crumbles like Boca or Beyond, and a vegan shredded cheese option. There are several tasty vegan cream cheese options available on Amazon or even at your local Trader Joe’s.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option there are many different pasta alternatives that you can try such as chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta, or even soba noodles.
Using an alternative pasta is a great way to help bring the carb level down on this dish as well. Choosing a plant-based pasta can be a great way to still enjoy this type of dish without all of the extra carbs.
You could even use zucchini or another form of squash to make zoodles to go with this dish. I think that the flavors would do well together!
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