Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

My oven is still broken (it's been over a month now) and I've decided to see how long I can go without one. That decision didn't really come from some desire to challenge my recipe finding skills (because quite frankly, it's annoying to be without an oven) but instead because I'm cheap and don't want to pay for my oven to be fixed.

I am missing roasted vegetables, though, so I may give in before long.

I found this recipe on another blog, Annie's Eats. And her picture is MUCH more appealing than mine so please check it out on her blog. This is truly a healthy, preservative free Hamburger Helper type recipe. This was a great option to make tonight as I worked late and didn't get home until 7:30 to start dinner. Typically, I would have scratched dinner plans and driven through someplace but I knew this dish was easy and fast. I think it took 15-20 minutes total (including water boiling).

You can pick up a packet of taco seasoning or you can throw together your own using spices you already have on hand. I used the recipe on Annie's blog (below) and it was very perfect! Now I have some on hand in my spice cabinet, already mixed, the next time we want tacos or something similar.

We both liked this dish and I'll make it again. It's very flavorful, relatively healthy, and fast. Perfect for a week night meal. And for those of you who pick up Hamburger Helper on occasion - try this instead!

Creamy Taco Mac
1¼ lbs. ground turkey
8 oz. dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 tbsp. taco seasoning (see recipe below)
3 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional - we didn't use any and didn't miss it)

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 turkey over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the turkey is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the turkey 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.

Taco Seasoning
4 tbsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. paprika
3 tbsp. ground cumin (I used roasted ground cumin instead)
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well to blend. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To prepare taco meat, use 2 heaping tablespoons in place of a package of taco seasoning (cook approximately 1 lb. of beef or chicken, add 1 cup of water with the seasoning, and simmer until the liquid is almost completely gone.)

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