Last minute, we invited my sister-in-law over for dinner tonight. She just returned home from college today (can’t believe she is already done with her freshman year!), so we were looking forward to seeing her. However, the last-minute nature of the plans required coming up with an alternative meal plan, as what we were originally planning doesn’t really make enough food for three.
I turned to my starred recipes to see if there was anything new to try. I wanted something pretty easy for a weeknight, and something that required minimal ingredients to pick up at the store. When I saw Annie’s recent post about Creamy Taco Mac, I knew it was the one. And hey, it was timely, too–perfect for Cinco de Mayo! :) (I know it is completely unauthentic, but at least the flavors are Mexican inspired!)
I suppose Annie is correct in describing this as a homemade version of Hamburger Helper, but I don’t remember any Hamburger Helper tasting this good! Annie used ground turkey in her version, but we stuck with ground beef. We also adjusted ingredients to use a whole box of pasta instead of half, since we had to feed a guest and also like to have leftovers. I’ve included these adjustments in the recipe below.
If you’re short on time, and looking for a meal that requires very little effort but doesn’t come from a box, this is your recipe. And if you have kids, they’re sure to love it, too.
Creamy Taco Mac
(Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats)
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 1 box dry pasta shapes (approx. 13-16 oz.)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained (If you’re not big on tomatoes, use 1 can. Use 2 if you want more!)
- 5-6 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning
- 4 oz. cream cheese (light)
- 3/4 cup sour cream (light)
- Salt and pepper
- Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from the heat and serve. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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