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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Taco Spaghetti

Oh, Yaya... She knows how to combine the strangest foods to create something wonderful. I mean, who would think of mixing tacos with spaghetti, right?

Taco spaghetti is made like a casserole and served like a taco salad. Admiral mentioned that part of what makes tacos so appealing is all the different textures. You have warm taco meat, a crunchy shell, and crisp lettuce all in one delicious little package and the best part about taco spaghetti is that you get all of those textures plus pasta!

The recipe makes a lot of food. It's not terribly expensive, especially if you find ground beef or turkey on sale, and it's just as tasty as leftovers. I hope this first recipe back after my hiatus makes up for the last month of missed recipes.

Taco Spaghetti

Source: Yaya original

For the casserole:
8 oz spaghetti or linguini
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packet of taco seasoning)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup salsa (optional, I skipped it this time but the flavor was a little lacking)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, drained
1 (10 oz) package frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz) can black beans (optional, I skipped them this time)
1 1/2 cups cheddar or colby jack cheese, shredded

For serving:
tortilla chips
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
sliced black olives
sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot and don't forget to salt the water. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. Be careful not to cook the pasta past al dente because it will continue to cook as you mix it with the meat mixture and in the oven.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until they are beginning to soften and become clear.

Add the ground beef or turkey and season with the 1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste) and cook until the meat is browned.

Add the water and taco seasoning and simmer until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the salsa, green chilies, corn, and black beans and cook until everything is heated through (my corn was still a little frozen).

Add the pasta and mix it in. I've found it's easier to mix with a good strong pair of tongs or with a pasta fork (OXO is a great brand) but it's difficult to get the ingredients to mix with the pasta without a sticky sauce to help. Just do the best you can.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add about 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix until combined. The cheese will probably melt quickly and help all the taco meat mixture stick to the pasta some.

Transfer the whole thing to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm in the style of a taco salad.

Add whatever taco toppings you like and some crushed tortilla chips for crunch.

Mine had chips, lettuce, black olives, salsa, and a little extra cheese.

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