A savory blend of seasoned ground beef and creamy noodles, this taco-inspired mac and cheese bake is the perfect comfort food mashup. Get the recipe now.
- 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni (16 ounces)
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces), divided
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces), divided
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream, divided (or substitute Greek yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably 80/20)
- 1 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
- 2 teaspoons chili powder seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (about 1 medium Roma tomato)
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions, green parts only
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the macaroni according to package directions and cook until al dente. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water, drain the pasta, and then return it to the pot over low heat.
- Add 1 cup of the cheddar, 1/2 cup of the Monterey Jack, 1 cup of the sour cream, the melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Stir until creamy and combined, gradually adding the pasta water about 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency. Season to taste with additional salt and set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet or saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season it with the remaining teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Using a slotted spoon to break up the meat, cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the green chilies, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3-5 minutes, or until the spices have thoroughly and evenly been incorporated into the meat.
- Spread half of the mac and cheese into a 3-quart casserole dish and top with half of the beef mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheddar and 1/4 cup of the Monterey Jack on top of the beef. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese, beef, and grated cheeses.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Divide among plates and garnish with even portions of the sour cream, chopped tomatoes, black olives, cilantro, and scallions. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Casserole
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: taco, casserole, comfort food, pasta, macaroni