I keep waiting for the hot July weather. It has been warmer but not the high 80s and 90s I am used to. We are getting ready for a busy month ahead so I am trying to keep our grocery bill down by using smaller amounts of meat and more pasta, beans, and rice in our meals. I would rather spend the money on our vacations than on grocery bills. I am still going to make great dinners but I am still going to buy things on sale and make use of my pantry and freezer as much as possible.
I made an Easy Creamy Italian Pasta meal a few weeks ago and as I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner with ground beef I thought what if I take that same recipe and make it into a Taco Pasta dish rather than an Italian dish. My family loves a bit of spice and I had a jar of salsa, brick of cream cheese and pasta on hand.
We really liked this dish. You can make it as spicy or bland as you wish by switching up the salsa and taco sauce you use. Like it spicy go for the hot sauce or add extra chili powder. We like some spicy so went for the medium sauce in both salsa and taco sauce
I made this dish for my mostly gluten-free son by making the dish right up to where I add the pasta then dividing the sauce between his with gluten-free pasta and ours with regular pasta. Except for the pasta both dishes are exactly the same. I try to divide the sauce mixture about 1/4 for him and 3/4 for the rest of us. It isn’t exact but I just scoop some sauce out and mix it into his pasta.
I served this dish with a side salad and a side of broccoli.
- 1-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey, lean
- 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, cut into 1″ cubes for easier melting
- 1 cup medium salsa, chunky style
- 1/4 cup + Taco sauce, medium
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pepper, green or red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1-2 TBSP Chili Powder, to your taste
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 box of pasta, your choice
- Brown ground beef, onion and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain off any fat once the beef is browned and broken into small pieces with the side of the spoon.
- Begin to cook pasta according to package directions.
- Add cumin, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper and onion powder to meat with 1/2 cup of water. Stir well and allow the water to evaporate while stirring over medium heat 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust spices to your liking adding salt and pepper as necessary.
- Add salsa, taco sauce and cream cheese to pan with meat mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. More heat add a dash of hot sauce or chili powder, less heat add a milder salsa to cut the heat.
- Stir sauce often over medium-low heat.
- Once pasta is cooked and drained according to package directions and returned to the pot pour the cream cheese meat mixture over the pasta and stir until it is well mixed. Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese and serve.