The Meal Planner

This was an unusual meal for me to make. We never eat anything in our house that resembles "Hamburger Helper" or that is even thrown together in a "casserole" sort of way. I guess that kind of makes us food snobs (not in a bad way I hope). Anyways, I set out to create a dish from "whatever I had in the pantry, fridge, freezer, etc." Again, not like me....BUT! I totally succeeded in my mission. My husband who originally turned up his nose at the description of "homemade hamburger helper" LOVED it and ate it for 3 days in a row as leftovers. I also pleased my own palate as well as my toddlers. I think I did good.


Serves 8-10

1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 lb penne
2 cups salsa
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
½ cup frozen corn
1 can black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put on a big pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, fry the ground beef with onions, celery, mushrooms and garlic. Once browned, add the taco seasoning.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (you want the pasta to be just slightly underdone because it will continue to cook in the oven.) Drain pasta.

In a large casserole dish, stir together beef mixture, pasta, corn, beans, salsa and sour cream. Once all combined, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and the dish is heated through.

Click here for printable version of Taco Pasta Bake

I have to admit I kind of surprised myself with this one. I didn't expect it to be so tasty! It's weird for me to say, but I definitely will make this again for my family since everyone devoured it. This makes a TON of food so it would be great to feed a crowd or even to make and freeze half. This whole dish could be assembled ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to bake.

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2 Responses
  1. Trish Says:

    That looks great!
    Definitely not a pot of mush as Hamburger Helper. ;)
    I'm so glad I found your blog. We have similar budgets and similar food obsessions! LOL
    BTW I added links to the recipes you asked about on my blog.
    Hope you like them!

  2. I agree Trish, I do think our family's have similar tastes. You don't seem to shy away from trying new things which I really like. I checked out the links you posted and I bookmarked the Spicy Orange Beef. Looks so tasty! And the Moroccan dish looked really interesting too...I had Moroccan once during our first International Dinner Club and wasn't crazy about it. However, I did really like the couscous and the RR recipe you linked to actually looked like something I'd like to give a try. Thanks!