I know I am posting this Menu Plan Monday a bit early, but I am trying to start planning now for the New Year while we are snowed in today 🙂 I had a friend visit recently who got tickled to see that I normally use my Google Calendar to plan my menu’s. It works well for me because I can put things into a rotation – schedule to repeat monthly, 2 months, 3 months, etc. so we aren’t eating the same things over, and over again. Because we’ve all been so very sick lately, this upcoming week is mostly tried and true favorites that are pretty easy for me to prepare with little effort while we are on the mend. Menu planning makes life SO much easier because you can make a shopping list and shop ONCE to get everything you need, and you can prep a lot of things ahead of time so on nights you know you will be busy, you won’t be tempted to stop for fast food. Continue reading
Taco Pasta Bake:
My family loves Tacos, and Pasta, so I thought that combining the two into a Taco Pasta Bake would be a huge hit, and it was! Here is how I put this recipe together:
First, I browned just over a pound of ground beef. The amount doesn’t have to be exact, my local store never sells exactly one pound. This one was probably closer to 1.25 pounds. While it’s browning, I place my small colander over a bowl. When the meat is good and brown, I pour it into the colander and use the spatula to stir and mash it to make sure all of the grease drains out the bottom of the colander. That’s the easiest way for me to drain the grease:)
Next, put the strained meat back into the skillet and use a taco seasoning packet and 3/4 cup of water to season the meat. Let it cook until the seasoning is absorbed and the water has cooked out. Add the Cream Cheese until it is mixed through.
Meanwhile, Cook your pasta, and when it is done and has been drained, pour it into your baking dish. I used a 9×9 pan. Add your shredded cheese on top.
Add the beef mixture, and stir it all up so it’s mixed well. Then bake uncovered at 35o for about 30 minutes.
I had some extra cheese left, so when I pulled it out of the oven, I sprinkled it on top and let it melt before serving.
I plated it and served it to my family. They loved every last bite, and in fact, there were NO leftovers for lunch the next day!
- 1 box Penne Pasta (or ziti)
- About 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1 envelope Taco Seasoning Mix
- 4 oz Cream Cheese (about ½ box)
- 1½ Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese. Can divide or add extra, according to your preference
- Brown your Ground Beef.
- When it's done, strain the grease out.
- Return the beef to the skillet and use a taco seasoning packet and ¾ cup of water to season the meat.
- Let it cook until the seasoning is absorbed and the water has cooked out.
- Add the Cream Cheese until it is mixed through.
- Cook your pasta according to package directions.
- When it is done and has been drained, pour it into your baking dish.
- Add your shredded cheese on top.
- Add the beef mixture, and stir it all up so it's mixed well.
- Then bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes.
- When it's done, you can add any leftover Shredded Cheddar to the top, if desired.
Here are a few items I find helpful in my own kitchen, when preparing this recipe:
Pyrex Easy Grab 8-Inch Square Baking DishT-fal A91082 Specialty Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Oven Safe Jumbo Cooker Saute Pan with Glass Lid Cookware, 5-Quart, BlackOXO Good Grips Ground Meat ChopperSet of 3 Dishwasher Safe Stainless Steel Micro-Perforated Colander for Food Prep – Nesting Fine Mesh Pasta Strainer perfect for washing, rinsing or draining Spaghetti and RiceOXO Good Grips Two-Fold GraterBarilla Penne Pasta, 16 Ounce (Pack of 8)Old El Paso Seasoning, Taco, 6.25-ounce
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Jello Pudding 3 Layer Pie is one of my kids favorite desserts to have. It’s very easy to make, and only requires 4 ingredients. My kids request this dessert for every holiday dinner. It’s so simple to make, that they now make it themselves 🙂 It requires no cooking, just some mixing, so it’s really the easiest pie recipe I’ve ever come across. Continue reading