It's been a hectic week over here at our house, and I can't tell you how ready I am for the weekend.
I'm really going to try and relax a little bit… but knowing me, I'll wake up from a daze and catch myself doing more work, perpetually caught up in the “I'll just finish this one last thing…” cycle. I guess that's the cost of liking what you do for a living.
No rest for the weary!
But there are parts of my “job” that can be easy, too. A busy week for me means that I'm pressed for time to make dinner, and when I'm pressed for time it means I start brainstorming the best way to whip up a recipe that can be cooked from start to finish in one pan.
And who doesn't love that?
There's nothing easier (or better after a long day) than a full flavored dish that doesn't create a mess or leave you feeling like you just finished running a marathon. After how this week has been, no matter how much I secretly love it, I just wanted something simple that I could enjoy without having to overthink it too much.
And I totally nailed it.
This is a very basic recipe at it's core – beef, elbow macaroni, cheese, plus all the tasty taco flavors you can handle – but sometimes (okay, most of the time) simple recipes are the best kind.
Perfection doesn't need to be an elaborate exercise in culinary excellence. Some ingredients just work together because they work together.
End of story. It's hard to improve perfection.
It's hard to improve perfection.
Sort of like beef and macaroni – they were made to go together. As were taco seasoning and sour cream.
Oh, and cheese.
Lots and lots of cheese.
Because cheese plays well with everything.
This is the type of dinner I'd look forward to ending my day with.
One Pan Cheesy Taco Skillet
A simple one-pan meal that's like a gourmet version of Hamburger Helper. Perfect for busy weeknights. And you can make it as spicy (or not) as you want!
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- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- 2 cups water separated
- 15 oz corn (1 can) drained
- 1 cup salsa any flavor, mild to spicy
- 1 cup taco sauce any flavor, mild to spicy
- 1 oz taco seasoning any flavor, mild to spicy
- 2 cup elbow macaroni 10 oz
- 2 cup Mexican cheese blend separated
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup sour cream optional
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- In a large skillet, brown and crumble ground beef over medium high heat. Drain grease and return ground beef to pan.
- Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in 1 cup water, corn, salsa, taco sauce, taco seasoning, and elbow macaroni. Mix ingredients together and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer. For the amount of time to simmer: check your box of macaroni and divide the cook time by half. For mine, total cook time was 10 minutes, so my skillet simmered for 5 minutes.
- Add in final 1 cup of water and stir. Return cover and allow to simmer for the remaining cook time of the macaroni.
- Remove skillet from heat. Quickly add in 1 cup of Mexican cheese blend and stir together so cheese is incorporated and melted. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of Mexican cheese blend on top, then replace cover on skillet for 1-3 minutes until cheese has melted.
- Serve immediately with sour cream and chopped cilantro as garnish.