Taco Pasta Bake
This Taco Pasta is OH MY YUM delicious and my husband’s favorite pasta! It is loaded with tender beef, beans, pasta,  etc. smothered in an incredible creamy enchilada-esque sauce that your whole family will LOVE!  It is reminiscent of hamburger helper with its juicy, cheesy beefiness but 1000X better! 
    Servings Prep Time
    6servings 15minutes
    Cook Time
    35minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    6servings 15minutes
    Cook Time
    35minutes
    LIGHTER Cheesy Taco Pasta is my husband's absolute favorite pasta! Juicy beef, beans, pasta etc., smothered in an incredible Mexican spiced sauce is out of this world delicious! Your whole family will LOVE this and its super easy!
    Ingredients
    • 12oz. celllentani pasta(may sub rigatoni penne, etc.)
    • 1pound lean ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 5 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 14.75 oz. can sweet creamed corn
    • 1cup tomato sauce
    • 1 10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
    • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
    • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies
    • 1tsp EACH chili pwdr, cumin, salt
    • 1/2teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/4teaspoon pepper
    • 4oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cubed
    • 1 1/2cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
    • 1cups Pepper Jack cheese, divided
    Garnish
    • tortilla strips
    • Tomatoes
    • Avocados
    • sour cream
    • cilantro
    • extra cheese
    • hot sauce
    Instructions
    1. Cook pasta al dente in generously salted water (don’t overcook). Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat until no longer pink. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Drain off any excess grease.
    3. Turn heat down to medium and stir in creamed corn, tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, green chilies, and all seasonings/spices. Turn heat to low, and simmer gently uncovered for 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in cream cheese until melted, then stir in 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese until melted. Add pasta and stir until evenly coated. You can serve as is or proceed to bake:
    5. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add pasta. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheeses and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes then broil until cheese is golden.
    6. Garnish with tortilla strips and other desired toppings.
    Recipe Notes

    Tips and Tricks for Taco Pasta 

    • Drain excess fat. After you brown the ground beef and onions you will wan to drain excess fat so your pasta doesn’t taste greasy.
    • Ground turkey.  I love substituting lean ground turkey for lean ground beef.  If you choose to do this, I suggesting adding 2 teaspoons beef bouillon and OMITTING the salt.
    • Pasta substitute. My favorite pasta for this cheesy taco casserole is celllentani pasta.   You can use a different pasta but I suggest something with ridges like rigatoni.
    • Don’t overcook pasta!  Cook your pasta just a minute short of al dente so it doesn’t get mushy when baked in the oven.
    • Cream cheese.  You are welcome to use 1/3 less fat cream cheese just take not it will not melt quite as well.
    • Freshly grated cheese.  Only use freshly grated cheese because packaged cheeses contain chemicals which keep them from easily melting.
    • How cheesy?  Feel free to use more or less cheese –  it is entirely up to you!
    • Pepper Jack.   You can also substitute the pepper Jack with cheddar or Monterrey  if that’s all you have on hand.
    • Skillet Taco Pasta.  You can eat your pasta straight out of the skillet.  Top with cheese and cover for 1-2 minutes so the cheese melts.
    • Customize heat.  Take care to use mild enchilada sauce and mild green chiles or your pasta will be quite spicy.  Individuals can customize their own servings with hot sauce to taste.
    • Toppings bar! Half the fun of this taco pasta casserole is the toppings!  You can create a taco pasta bar so everyone can customize their own taco pasta.  Some of my favorites include sour cream, avocados, pico de gallo, and of course crushed tortilla chips or strips!