Friday, April 10, 2015

One-Pot Taco Chili Mac

I'm a messy cook. I always confessed that to my 4-H cooking kids, usually after one of them had spread flour from hither to yon in my kitchen. So dirtying just one pot for a main dish sounded like a way to cut down on kitchen clean-up - always a good thing, in my book.

This One-Pot Taco Chili Mac was also a tasty addition to the recipe line-up. Don't get scared off by all the ingredients. Several of them are spices that you likely have hanging out in your spice cabinet. The others are staples in my pantry, and I'm guessing they are in yours, too.

It's kind of a mash-up between Italian, Mexican and pasta, some of our dinner-time favorites. This is a big recipe. We don't mind leftovers, so I used some for other meals right now and put some in the freezer for a busy day. Though I haven't used the frozen entree yet, I'm guessing it will just need a little bit of water or chicken broth to bring it back to life.

It was delicious with a green salad. Hope you enjoy it, too!
One-Pot Taco Chili Mac
Makes 8 generous servings
1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 (10 oz.) can tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 (14.5 oz.) can pink or red beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup refried beans
1 (15 oz.) can chicken broth
1 3/4 cups water
8 oz. pasta (shells, elbow, rotini, etc.)
1  1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (divided)
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped green onion

Use a large Dutch oven, pot or skillet with fitted lid for this recipe. Spray with cooking spray. Put hamburger and chopped onion and red pepper in skillet and cook until hamburger is browned and vegetables softened; drain fat. Add garlic and all seasonings. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Add Rotel, beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Adjust salt to taste. Stir in uncooked pasta and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of cheese, stirring into the sauce. Cook just until melted and sauce is smooth.

Remove pot from heat and top with additional 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh cilantro and green onions.

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