This is another one of those Like-Hamburger-Helper-But-So-Much-Better meals. I’ve made this recipe or one similar to it a few times now. I debated posting it because it’s made its rounds and you’re probably all, “been there, done that.” But, ultimately I decided to share it because it’s a really tasty, family-friendly meal, and the last time I made it I did it all in one pot, which makes it a little easier (with less clean up). This also meant I was able to use some beef broth instead of water for cooking the pasta, so it amped up the flavor a bit, too.
I consulted this ground beef stroganoff recipe to figure out the amount of liquid to use in this. I used a little bit less, and it worked out perfectly. One thing to note, is that if you decide to use beef broth, you’ll probably want to make your own taco seasoning or buy both low sodium broth and taco seasoning to cut down on the salt. I used 4 Tbsp. of pure “taco seasoning” (no salt added) so this is a little bit more robust than buying a store-bought version since a fair amount of that would be salt and not spices.
When using lower fat cheeses, a lean ground beef, and whole wheat noodles, this meal is actually pretty healthy. Another bonus is that the leftovers might be even better – I really had to try not to bust into them at work at 10:00 a.m.
Creamy Taco Mac
Adapted from Delish
1 lb. ground beef or sirloin
1 onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 to 3.25 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 Tbsp. taco seasoning (recipe below, or use a low-sodium store-bought mix)
8 oz. small pasta shapes, like elbows or small shells (I used whole wheat)
3 oz. cream cheese (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup sour cream (low fat is fine)
Shredded cheddar (optional)
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground beef and do not stir. Once browned on the bottom, flip the beef, breaking it up, and stir in the onion and green pepper. Cook until onion is translucent and beef is browned. (Drain fat, if necessary.)
Stir in the diced tomatoes, broth, and taco seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper (the mix below has no salt, so you will likely need to add a little if you use it) and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese.
Off the heat, add the sour cream and cheddar, if using. Re-season to taste, if necessary.
Adapted from Allrecipes
2 Tbsp. mild chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. paprika