Taco Mac and Cheese

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 Back in the days when I thought cooking meant “opening a box of this or that and adding some stuff to it and calling it dinner,” these are two of the dishes I used to make for me and Joe pretty often: 1.) Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni topped with salsa and sour cream; and 2.) Velveeta shells and cheese with taco-seasoned ground beef added. Although I haven’t made either of these dishes for literally years, these are still two of the things Joe craves. When he mentioned this craving to me recently, I decided to make a somewhat less-processed hybrid version of the two dishes for him, and this taco macaroni and cheese was the result.



I must say, this mac and cheese was quite delicious, and definitely tastier than the made-from-a-box versions we ate so many years ago. It’s spicy and satisfying, and Joe was definitely a happy camper the night he had this for dinner. I’ll be making it for him whenever he requests it (which I’m sure will be often), because I loved it just as much as he did.


Taco Macaroni and Cheese


1 pound macaroni or shell pasta

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 serving of taco seasoning (or 1 packet of store-bought seasoning mix)

1 cup salsa

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into chunks

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions


Taco Macaroni and Cheese


1 pound macaroni or shell pasta

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 serving of taco seasoning (or 1 packet of store-bought seasoning mix)

1 cup salsa

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into chunks

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.


2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and sweat the onion together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the beef is completely cooked through, drain off excess fat, return to skillet, and add garlic. Cook and stir 30 seconds. Add taco seasoning and salsa and stir to combine; reduce heat to low.


3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add cream cheese, milk, and sour cream and stir to combine. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thick and bubbling. Stir in shredded cheese.


4. Add cheese sauce and ground beef mixture to pasta and stir to combine. Top each serving with salsa and sour cream, if desired.


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