Creamy Taco Mac

Please welcome back Shane, who graciously agreed to share another great weeknight recipe with you today!  Thanks Shane, love this post :) 

Apparently my first guest post was well received enough that Tracey asked me to do another one! She’s been very busy lately between trying to stay on top of this blog as well as commuting to Boston four days a week, so I was more than happy to help out.

I’ve actually made this creamy taco mac recipe twice now in the past few weeks. The first time was the first week that Tracey was back commuting, and that was a little frantic due to my, shall we say, limited kitchen experience. There were a few tasks that I’ve seen done before (mincing garlic, chopping onions) but hadn’t actually done myself and had to figure out on the fly. I also didn’t do as great a job getting my mise en place 100% complete before starting, which may have led to a frazzled moment when I called Tracey at a critical juncture asking where we keep the taco seasoning. “Wait, I have to make it myself?!?” Fortunately, it all came together in the end (and the taco seasoning recipe makes enough for several meals worth).

Creamy Taco Mac

I’m happy to report that the second time around, I had things much more under control. It really goes to show you how much easier cooking is once you’ve already done it once and can plan properly! Also, since I knew when making it the second time that I was going to write a guest post, I made sure to take process photos with my iPhone. I can’t take all the credit though…as promised/threatened in my last guest post, I had a little help getting the ingredients together:

photo 3[1]

taco mac

photo 5

Autobots and Decepticons working together? All in the name of an excellent meal!

As for the actual meal itself? I can assure you, both times I’ve made it so far it’s been a huge hit! Just the right amount of spice from the taco seasoning, creamy, and plenty of meat! I’ve already told Tracey that I am itching to have it again in the very near future; I’m hoping it’ll end up on the menu again sometime next week.

Well, that’s it for me until my next guest post. Transform and roll out!

Creamy Taco Mac
adapted from Delish via Annie’s Eats

8 oz (1/2 lb) pasta
1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 tablespoons taco seasoning (recipe below)
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the ground turkey. Brown, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as you cook it. When the turkey is nearly cooked through, add the onion to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Once the turkey is completely browned, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and taco seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, stirring to incorporate and melt the cream cheese. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each portion with shredded cheddar cheese before serving, if desired.

Taco Seasoning
originally from Mex Recipes (via Annie’s Eats and Use Real Butter)

4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a medium bowl, mix all of the spices together. Transfer to an airtight container for storage.

[To use the seasoning to make tacos, combine 2 heaping tablespoons (in place of a package of taco seasoning) with 1 lb of beef or chicken and 1 cup of water. Simmer until the liquid is almost completely gone.]