This Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe is a perfectly nostalgic Hamburger Helper copycat. It’s the 30-minute meal everyone will love.
Ground beef. For this recipe, you can use any ground beef you have available. Lean ground beef is preferred. Drain off the excess fat.
We make a blend of Venison and Beef and put one-pound packages in the freezer so that’s what we usually use for pasta dishes like this. You could even use ground chicken or ground turkey, if you prefer.
Penne pasta. I like to use any pasta that has grooves so the delicious sauce can get on every bite. Use whatever pasta you have available. This works with shells, elbow macaroni, rigatoni, rotini and even my favorite, tortellini.
Boil your pasta separately then add it to the sauce you’ll make in a separate skillet.
Onion. I go through lots of onion in my recipes but, if you have someone who doesn’t like pieces of onion because of the texture, you can use onion powder.
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Diced tomatoes. I like the petite dice, but you can use regular dice, if you prefer. You could also cut up a can of whole tomatoes, dicing them yourself.
Velveeta cheese. The Velveeta cheese here is a small box with individual foil-wrapped 4 ounce blocks. It just works better to buy Velveeta this way. I would never be able to use the full regular box before it went bad.
Taco seasoning. I know I could make my own homemade taco seasoning with all the spices in the cupboard but sometimes, it’s just easier this way, right? It’s the same thing you would use to make tacos. I didn’t add any extra salt or black pepper. You can add those to taste, if you like.
If you don’t have the prepared package, you can make your own with chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and salt.
How To Serve
Sauce. If you like to add extra hot sauce or salsa, you can use your favorite Mexican sauce. A little Pico de Gallo on the side will add some extra flavors and freshness.
Garnish. While it’s still hot, sprinkle on some shredded cheddar cheese on the taco pasta, if you like. Some cilantro or fresh sliced green onion tops give it some color.
Go ahead and slice up some avocado, if you have some available. Like tacos, even an addition of sour cream will be delicious.
If you have some fresh corn, stir it into the meat sauce during the simmer. It’s a great addition. You can also add about one-half can black beans. Anything you may add to Mexican food will work here.
How To Store Leftovers
You’ll be able to store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days, if it lasts that long before getting eaten. It will also freeze, but the texture of the pasta may change.
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- Large Pasta Pot or Pan
- Large skillet
- ½ pound Penne Pasta, or other pasta of your choice
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- ½ large Onion, chopped
- 1 package Taco Seasoning
- 14.5 ounces Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 4 ounces Velveeta Cheese
- ½ cup Pasta Water
- Begin boiling water in a large pan to begin preparation of pasta accoding to package instructions. Continue with the instructions below, but add pasta when the time comes and cook pasta to desired doneness. Do not drain without saving back the ½ cup pasta water.
- In a large skillet, on medium heat, pan fry the ground beef until done. Drain all but 1 or 2 tablespoons fat.
- Add chopped onions to ground beef. Stir and continue cooking until onions are softened and fragrant.
- Add contents of Taco Seasoning package, Petite Diced Tomatoes and 1 4-ounce block of Velveeta Cheese. Stir and continue cooking until cheese is melted and everything is mixed well. Add ½ cup pasta water. Stir and mix well. Continue cooking until desired consistency.
- Drain pasta and stir into cheesy meat sauce. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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