Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taco Helper....and my lack of love for pre-packaged meals

As a general rule, I don't like to buy pre-packaged meals for us. They 1) are expensive, and 2) have a ridiculously high salt content. Tuna helper is something I buy on occasion for Nate, but I won't eat most of those things. (OK, I will confess to buying pasta roni when it's on sale sometimes. Hush, it's a comfort food when I am hungry, I'm the only one eating, and I don't want to mess with making a real meal.) However, I like the idea of most of them. Creamy pasta/rice & meat, lots of flavors, only one or two dishes.... sounds good. 

I like to do pasta with a cream-of soup (speaking of ridiculously high salt contents....), ground beef, and some cheese & seasonings, but I was intrigued when I saw a recipe for homemade taco helper on one of the blogs I read regularly. At Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, she has a lot of down-to-earth recipes--and, if you are gluten-free, she has a lot of that too! I've never made the boxed kind, but I love tacos, so I thought it was worth a shot!  

(See below recipe for comments on the recipe itself...)

(Yes, my camera was still MIA when I made this. However, this was a few days ago, and YAY! I found my camera! It was hiding....)
Taco Helper

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¾ - 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¾ cup milk
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning (or one packet of the storebought kind)
  • 3 cups uncooked penne or macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt to taste

  1. In a large sauce pan, brown the ground beef. Drain any fat from the meat. Add ¾ cup water, milk, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning to the meat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 17-20 minutes. Test at 17 minutes to see if the pasta is done. If pasta is not done, cook a few minutes longer.
  3. During cooking, if liquid simmers too low add up to another 3/4 cup water.
  4. When the pasta is tender and done, stir in shredded cheese and sour cream.
  5. Let sit 5- 10 minutes before serving and it will thicken more.
30 minutes

Source (for original): Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures 

I think I would add more sour cream next time, because it wasn't quite a creamy as I was anticipating. It was great, the flavor was awesome, but I was expecting more creaminess.

Also, as I am posting this, I realize that I have yet to post my recipe for taco seasoning. (Does it count as a recipe if you are just mixing a bunch of spices together?) Stay tuned, I think that will have to be next....

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