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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

Diced tomatoes. No matter how many times I reach into my pantry on a normal basis, I always pull out diced tomatoes. If I reached blindly, four of five times typically I would pull out a can of diced tomatoes. For some reason, diced tomatoes at the store yell out to me - buy me! You want me! You need me! At any given time, I have about six cans of diced tomatoes between the two pantries.

Wouldn't luck have it that I go to make taco mac and I can not find a can of diced tomatoes anywhere - not in the main or back up pantries. Low and behold, I found a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles. A bit too spicy for my taste, but there was dinner to be made. I love taco mac. It's a play on hamburger helper. I used vegetable pasta which I always have tons of, it's delicious, and you're getting an extra dose of veggies without knowing it.  The recipe below also leads you to Annie's Eats for a recipe for the taco seasoning I use. How nice is it to know you can eat a version that doesn't leave you feeling as if you just ate an entire salt lick?

Ingredients1¼ lbs. ground meat
8 oz. dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 tbsp. taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to the package directions.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.  Set aside.

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.  Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  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.  Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.  Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Source: Annie's Eats

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