I’m taking a quick break from the poached egg testing to bring you a tasty dinner (or lunch) idea.
I’ve been making a large dish of something (like a casserole or enchiladas) for lunches. It makes it really easy to dish up lunch and have something quick and tasty (and hopefully healthy). So, I thought I’d try this recipe for taco mac & cheese.
I love that you don’t even have to bake it. That really helps keep the house cool in the summer. But, I wanted to add a few more veggies to it, and of course, I wanted it to be vegetarian. I also wanted it to be lower in calories and fat than the original version. So, I made a few changes.
This would be great for a pot luck or an office party. You could even keep it warm in the crock pot. It’s great for lunches, just dole out a portion, and send it off to work or school. It’s delicious reheated from a microwave or cold as a taco salad. The garnishes are your choice. I really liked it with shredded lettuce. Top it with avocado, guacamole (hello guacarexia!), or sour cream as well.
The salsa you use is your choice. Of course, I love homemade! But if you don’t have the time or inclination, jarred will work as well. I’ve been loving this Frontera Salsa lately (Chipotle is my favorite). You could also use jarred roasted red bell peppers in place of fresh ones. I’d suggest using 1/3 cup or so of the jarred peppers. I think this may also be delish with some lentils thrown in.
Makes 8-10 servings
Inspired by Cassie Craves
1 pound small shaped pasta (like ziti, macaroni, or penne)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 (4-ounce) can chopped mild green chiles, undrained
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup meatless frozen crumbles
3 tablespoons taco seasoning (or 1 packet store-bought seasoning mix)
1 cup salsa (homemade or store-bought)
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into chunks
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce, avocado, sour cream, for garnish, as desired
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 20 minutes. Add red pepper, zucchini, green chiles, green onion, and crumbles, and continue to cook, about 5 minutes. Add taco seasoning and salsa and stir to combine. Remove from heat, and stir veggie mixture into pasta. Set aside.
Rinse out the saucepan that you used for the veggies, and place it over medium heat. Add cream cheese and milk, stirring to combine. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thick and bubbling. Add Cheddar to cream cheese mixture, and stir until Cheddar is melted.
Add cheese sauce to pasta and veggies, and gently stir to combine. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!