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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baked Taco Macaroni and Cheese

Tonight I was going to share our new recipe of the week with you, but something happened to my brain this week and I totally forgot to take any pictures of it.  I guess it will just have to wait until the next time I make it.

The recipe I'm sharing tonight is my own creation, but it's based on chili-mac.  Aaron and I like to eat leftover chili mixed with macaroni and cheese.  We always have leftover chili and we always seem to have leftover taco meat.  I frequently do this with leftover taco meat, but sometimes I just want the taco-mac.

This is super simple.  Combine taco meat and macaroni and cheese.  That's it.

Now I'm going to make it a bit more complicated.  What kind of macaroni and cheese do you like?  You can use any kind you like.  If you like the Kraft kind in the blue box with the powdered cheese you can use that.  If you like the Velveeta shells and cheese you can use that.  If it's just me eating it, say for lunch with leftover taco meat I like to make my Mom's homemade macaroni and cheese.  It's made with elbow macaroni and milk and melted American cheese.

But of course, Aaron has to have his Velveeta, so that's what we used tonight.  Add a handful of crushed tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream to this and it is a pretty darn good meal.

Baked Taco Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound ground sirloin or turkey (I actually used ground chuck and drained it really well)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 cup broth or water (I used chicken broth but you could use beef or vegetable if you prefer)
3 Tbsp taco seasoning (you could use 1 packet of seasoning mix if you prefer)
salt to taste (will be necessary if you use the homemade taco seasoning)
1 box macaroni and cheese of your choice
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet brown the meat until it is cooked through and no longer pink.  Drain it if necessary and return it to the stove over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the broth or water and the taco seasoning.

Bring to a simmer and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.  (I like to use the whole cup of liquid, and you will want to salt it if using the homemade taco seasoning as it does not contain any salt.)

While the meat is cooking boil the macaroni according to the package directions.  Drain it and set aside.

Preheat the broiler on high.

Once the meat is ready add the package of cheese (when I use homemade macaroni and cheese I mix it all together before adding the meat and if you use the powdered cheese you'll want to mix it with a bit of milk first)...

...and the pasta to the meat.  Mix well and transfer to an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish sprayed with vegetable oil spray.

Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar.

Place it in the oven under the broiler until the top is bubbly and brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot.  I like some crushed tortilla chips or Fritos with mine and maybe a bit of sour cream.  You could also use it to make a taco salad.  I've found that the pasta adds a nice texture to taco salad.

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