Saturday, June 9, 2012

Recipe: Taco Pasta Salad

For the most part, I grew up having my Grandpa cook everything for me. I never felt the urge to learn how to cook, but once I had my son and moved out on my own that became a problem. I still say I'm a work in progress, but I don't know where I'd be without recipe books and the Internet. Over time I learned what blends well with what and started to experiment a little with food. However, if you're a cooking newbie, let's start off with one of my simplest recipes that was given to my from an older cousin of mine. Two of my favorite types of foods are pasta and Mexican food so I thought this was genius to combine together! It's super easy to do and a hit whenever I make it.

TACO PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:
1- 12 oz. Box of Rotini Pasta
1 lb. of Ground Beef
2/3 Cup of Water
1 pkg. Taco Mix
1 Jar of Salsa
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Directions:
1. Prepare the Rotini pasta according to its package directions.

2. Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet over medium heat until it's not longer pink. If you don't like that extra oil that's left over, drain the beef and then return it to the skillet.

3. Add water and taco seasoning to the cooked ground beef. Simmer until the mixture thickens while stirring occasionally.

4. Once the ground beef and pasta is cooked, place a portion of the pasta on a plate or bowl for individual serving. Top pasta with the amount of ground beef to your liking. Add a dollop of salsa and sour cream and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.

5. Serve and enjoy!


This recipe is the simple version of taco pasta salad. I've learned to adjust it to my liking the more I cooked it. My family loves meat so we add 1 lb. of ground beef to 1 box of tri-color rotini pasta. Just adjust the portion sizes to fix your individual family if you like more pasta than meat or vice versa. I use Barilla's tri-color rotini pasta because I feel that it absorbs the flavor of the food well. Mahal doesn't like the taste of taco mix so I season the ground beef with 1 packet of Sazon, 1/2 to 1 tsp. of Adobo (depending on how salty you like your food), and about 1 tablespoon of Recaito.

You would add these 3 ingredients into the meat before you cook it. Add them and fold the meat a few times just to mix it in well, then cook on medium heat until the meat is not longer pink (about 30 minutes minimum). These ingredients can be found at most of your local grocery stores in the Hispanic aisle. I buy mine from Food for Less or Smith's. As far as the toppings, I like to use Mild Pace Salsa since my son doesn't like spicy things, but it'll taste fine if you don't add salsa at all. It's just to add an extra kick. Play around with the toppings to your liking. I actually like to add lettuce and tomato to my Taco Pasta Salad sometimes. Mahal and JAM love to add tortilla strips into their bowls for a little crunch in their meal. You can find tortilla strips usually next to the croutons at your local grocery store. Enjoy!
*I received no form of compensation for talking about these specific products. I just wanted to share what worked for me personally.

Let me know how it turns out when you give it a try! Comment or message me for any questions you may have. What variations of this recipe worked well for you?