This budget recipe started out as a crockpot meal, Taco Bake, that I mentioned in one of my previous posts: Meal Planning When You are Busy.
The recipe came from a slow cooker cookbook. I followed the directions exactly, with the exception of shortening the cooking time, but even that didn’t fully rescue the dish. While it was very flavorful, I found that the pasta did not hold up well in the crockpot with the other ingredients, becoming too mushy near the center and too hard and uncooked on the edges. I decided to keep the flavor (well enhance it a bit) and get rid of the crockpot.
This dish is very economical, especially if you get the ground turkey on sale. It cost us less than $10, and we wound up with leftovers in a family of five. The meat mixture is easily frozen, so you can prepare it ahead of time and then defrost and cook the pasta later, for a quick weeknight meal.
Here is the new recipe. I’m calling it Taco Pasta.
1 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean)
1 onion, chopped
1 package of taco seasoning
1/2 cup of water
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 4-ounce can of chopped green chilies
3 tablespoons of canola oil
2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend or mild cheddar cheese
1 pound of pasta shells
Add the canola oil to the skillet, and then the chopped onions. Sauté the onions for two minutes, and then add the ground turkey. Cook the turkey until it is browned. Drain the fat.
Add the taco seasoning, water, tomato sauce and green chilies, mix well in the pan. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to your package directions. Drain.
Serve the pasta on a plate, and using a ladle, add the taco meat mixture. Sprinkle a portion of cheese on top. Serve immediately.