Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taco Pasta

I was wondering how to make tacos ahead of time and I experimented with a few different pasta ideas.  This one is by far the best that I was able to come up with.   I started with spicy cheese soup, but was unhappy with all the added calories and fat.  So now this recipe has a tomato based sauce with a little sharp shredded cheese on top.  Much better! 


2lbs lean ground beef                        7.50
1 lb penne pasta                                1.00
2 pkg taco seasoning                         1.00
2 cans diced tomatoes                       1.88
1 can diced green chilies                      .78
1/2 onion chopped                              .15
1 green pepper chopped                     .60
1 bunch cilantro chopped                    .74
8oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded  2.04


Put a large pot of water on medium high heat for the pasta.  When the water is boiling cook pasta to lowest recommended cooking time on the box.  Meanwhile in a large pan cook the ground beef and drain.  Add chopped onion and green pepper, cook until just starting to get tender.  Add two packages of taco seasoning and two cans of diced tomatoes (don't drain the liquid from the tomatoes).  Also add the can of chopped green chilies.  Stir well. 
Colorful huh?  I like a lot of color in my food.  Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the meat mixture.  Once thoroughly mixed, remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro to desired taste.

Now pour the pasta into three different 8x8"pans.  Top with one third of the shredded cheese. 

Cover with foil.  Put one pan into the oven for dinner and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes just to melt the cheese.  Put the other two meals into the freezer for a later date.  Once thawed the freezer meal bakes at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to warm all the way through. 
This pasta tastes great just like this, but feel free to top with sour cream, fresh salsa, shredded lettuce or extra cilantro.  If you want to pack more veggies in this meal you can chop celery and carrot very small and stir in with the meat.  Sweet corn is also a nice addition to the meat sauce.  Yum!
I was able to make three meals for $5.23 each.  This is an easy way to have taco flavor any night of the week.  Just throw them in the oven to bake and no assembly required! 

Christie aka Keeza