Nacho Beef & Macaroni

I love a casserole, all year-round.  I tend to gravitate to them most often on busy weekdays, when I can put them together ahead of time; then sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, cheese, or in this case, Doritos just before baking.  When you're short on ingredients, or you if you need to feed a crowd, this kicked-up beefy casserole will fit the bill.  I usually serve it with a dollop of sour cream and salsa on the side.  It's filled the with South-of- the-Border flavors that always satisfy.

Ingredients you'll need:
5 cups cooked elbow macaroni [about 10 ounces dry]
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil
1 1/4 lb x-lean ground beef
1 [10 oz] can diced tomatoes and green chilies [I used Rotel Chili Fixins]
1 cup milk
1 [10 3/4 oz] can fiesta nacho cheese soup
1 [10 3/4 oz] can cheddar cheese soup
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese
1 cup crushed nacho tortilla chips [I used Doritos]
Seasonings: [shortcut: 1 pkg taco seasoning]
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro divided
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp lime juice or 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
2 tsp dark chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook the macaroni in salted, boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente, then drain.  Set aside.  In a large stove top pot, add the diced onion and peppers.  Sauté in a couple of drizzles of olive oil until translucent season with salt and black pepper to your taste.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned.  Drain any excess fat from the pan, and add all of the seasonings, reserving about 1 tablespoon of cilantro for garnishing.

Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and milk.  Taste and adjust the salt and black pepper.  Add  both soups and stir just until the soups have melted into the ground beef mixture, remove from the heat.  The large pot doubles as the mixing bowl, also.  Add the cooked macaroni and 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Mix well.

Pour into the baking dish.  At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to bake later, if you like.  Allow to come to room temperature before baking if making in advance.  Top with crushed tortilla chips and the remaining shredded cheese just before baking.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly.  Garnish with additional cilantro and serve with a dollop of sour cream and salsa on the side.  Yield: 12 servings

Cook's note:
The diced tomatoes and chili's that I used for this casserole were already seasoned for chili.  If you're unable to find that particular kind, the seasonings will need to be adjusted to accommodate. 


Mr Pete said...

What a beautiful blog, both colors and yummy recipes! This one will definitely be a hit at my house, as my children love anything with pasta and cheese. It looks so easy too! Thanks for sharing!

Melissa said...

Hi Mr. Pete, welcome! I know what a challenge it is to cook for a family, I sure hope you love it. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit! ~ Melissa

Carla Frohne said...

I am definatley going to make this for dinner this week. I have to work alot of late hours so it will be easy for my husband to just put in the oven for the family when he gets home. Thank you!

Melissa said...

Hi Carla, it's perfect for make ahead meals. Just top and bake. I hope they love it as much as my family does. :) Thanks for your visit, Melissa

Cyndi said...

This sounds sooooo good! Jsut one queation.....can I leave out the cilantro or is there something I can substitute for it?? Not a fan of cilantro! lol!

Melissa said...

Hi Cyndi, oh sure just leave it out. You could substitute Italian parsley, if you like. Enjoy!

judy sloop cagle said...

Sounds like you could put all in the crock pot instead of turning on oven?

Melissa said...

I never have, if you do stop back by and let us know. Most dishes can be cooked easily in the slow cooker with time adjustments.

Debra said...

Thanks for this great recipe, Melissa! I will be making this for supper tonight and I am positive it will be a hit. It reminds me of another recipe my family enjoys called Taco Bake. For that recipe you use crescent rolls and Doritos on the bottom and top. Melissa, I love your blog and your recipes. Everything that I have tried turns out great! I was wondering, do you have a cookbook too? Thanks again,Debra.

Melissa said...

Hi Debra, I'm delighted you're enjoying my recipes. No cookbook in print just yet, stay tuned on that. Thanks for such a sweet note, I really appreciate it.

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