Taco pasta bake

This is an interpretation of a dish I saw at Carrie in the Kitchen (originally at About a Bit of Everything). It’s SO tasty, but rather unphotogenic — as I suppose a lot of casseroles are.

Regardless, you should try this. Just, you know, don’t sign it up for a food modeling contest.

Taco pasta bake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces dried pasta
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can Ro*tel

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cook pasta in salted water for two minutes less than lowest time recommendation on box (e.g. if “cook 7 minutes for al dente” then cook yours for 5 minutes); drain
  3. Brown ground beef and drain any grease; add water and taco seasoning, stir, and let simmer uncovered 5-10 minutes; stir in cream cheese, cooked pasta and RO*TEL
  4. Spoon into greased casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese; bake for 20 minutes or so until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown around the edges

Bonus: this freezes like a dream! Make two and freeze one covered in a layer of plastic wrap then a layer of foil — just remember to remove the plastic wrap before baking!

Taco sauce

I looked around at a lot of different taco sauce recipes and none of them seemed exactly right to me, so I kind of cobbled together my own according to what I had on hand. Very tasty!

Taco sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 small can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or so until all the flavors get to know each other pretty well
  2. Store in fridge, cute jar label optional.

 

Chicken and broccoli rice bowl

This was such a quick and easy weeknight meal! And a light one too, which I love in the summer. Or spring. Whatever — it’s hot enough to be glow-inducing during the day already, so it sure feels like summer to me.

For this I made two cups of sushi rice in the rice maker:

And steamed two cups of broccoli, then sprinkled on some lemon juice:

And The Yankee grilled some teriyaki-marinated chicken:

Then we layered all that in bowls and added a bit of soy sauce. A la peanut butter sandwiches! Super easy fake-out take-out, minus the MSG headache.

What are your favorite summer meals when it feels too hot to eat?