Today I’m sharing a tried and true recipe that Ryan and I absolutely love. The original recipe is from Chelsy’s Messy Apron, linked here.
With current social distancing measures in place, Ryan and I have been eating every meal at home (obviously). This adds up to a lot more dishes than we have ever had! Seriously, every day, there is a stockpile of dishes waiting to be rinsed (and yes, we do have a dishwasher which we are running daily).
I love this recipe for many reasons: it’s easy, cheesy, delicious, adaptable comfort food and, the kicker…. it only requires one pan! We have made this dish a LOT (it’s pinned to our “Favorite Recipes” board) and everyone seems to love it. It’s super filling and soooo easy – the perfect meal for when you just really don’t feel like cooking.
As I mentioned above, it’s also easily adaptable to different dietary restrictions or preferences. We substituted Banza elbow pasta (made entirely from chickpeas) for normal elbow pasta. You can also include chipotle peppers, bell peppers, or any other items you may need to use up in your fridge! You can make this as spicy or mild as you want, depending on the salsa and taco sauce you use.
If you have kids it could be a fun recipe to have them help out with, and it’s sure to please the pickiest of palates.
Without further ado – here is the recipe that we have modified a bit along the way.
- 1 lb ground beef (could also use ground turkey/chicken, tofu, or even a few cans of beans!)
- 1 cup of salsa (or a can of tomatoes with some spices and scallions would work too!)
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1-2 (or more) cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup of taco sauce
- 2 cups water, divided
- Taco seasoning – you can buy a premixed packet or make your own! We made our own using 1 tbps chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp chipotle powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Yum!
- 2 cups of elbow pasta (or other small shaped pasta). We used Banza pasta.*
- 1- 2 cups shredded cheese (we erred on the generous side here)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Toppings: Sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), scallions, cilantro, etc.
- Start by browning the ground beef (or substitution) in your skillet over medium heat. This should take around 4-7 minutes depending on the amount and type of meat you use.
- Remove beef from stove and drain (I skipped this step so it is technically optional and saves additional dishes #lazyAF)
- Add your onion and garlic to the pan with the ground beef. Sauté for a minute or two over medium heat.
- Add in your taco seasoning and stir so everything gets evenly coated.
- Add in the corn, taco sauce, and salsa. Stir so everything is well combined.
- Add in the pasta and 1 cup of water and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce heat to low or medium-low and simmer, covered, for 5-7 minutes. If you are using a nonstick skillet, you’ll need to stir the mixture every two minutes or so.
- Remove the cover and add in the last cup of water, again, stirring to combine everything. Cover again and continue to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir. Add in the shredded cheese and stir until it’s all melted and delicious 😋.
- Serve in a bowl with your favorite toppings!
* Please note, if you substitute the small elbow pasta for something more substantial (like penne, rigatoni, etc.), you may need to add a few additional minutes for the cooking time.