This skillet tex-mex macaroni is not only amazingly delicious, but it's cooked in under 30 minutes, and only dirties one pot. It makes a perfect weeknight dinner, and it has all your bases covered: Mexican food, pasta, spice, cheesiness, and it's reasonably healthy.
This skillet meal reminded me a bit of hamburger helper, but obviously it's better. Joey and I really really loved this, and my mom asked for the recipe when she ate the leftovers for lunch during a visit.
I really just cannot say enough good things about this dish, so I'll leave you with this: rearrange your weekly meal plan and squeeze this in. And then come back and tell me "thank you."
Skillet-Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni
adapted from Pasta Revolution
- 1 Tbs canola oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped into small pieces
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs chili powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
- 2 cups water
- 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce (preferably from fire-roasted tomatoes, if you can find it)
- 8 oz (about 2 cups) elbow macaroni or shells
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Pepperjack cheese
- avocado, sour cream, and/or hot sauce for serving
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the beef, using a wooden spoon to break up any big pieces, and cook until it's no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the water, tomato sauce, and pasta. Increase heat, cover, and bring to a vigorous simmer. Stirring frequently, cook until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the corn, green chiles, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and 1/2 cup of each of the cheeses. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the para, and bake until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cilantro, and serve.