Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight 2023




  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cans (10 ounces each) Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or garlic salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound pasta (penne or macaroni)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup hot water (you can use reserved pasta water)
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • Shredded Colby Jack cheese (measure with your heart)
  • Toppings of your choice (sour cream, salsa, etc.)


  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. When the pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat. Brown the ground beef until fully cooked.
  2. Add chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder (or garlic salt), and paprika to the browned beef. Pour in the hot water and add the Rotel tomatoes (drain one can for a thicker consistency). Simmer until the mixture thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
  4. In the same pot used for the pasta, heat the milk and remaining butter until it starts to bubble. Add Velveeta cheese and stir until melted. Incorporate the shredded Colby Jack cheese, stirring until smooth. Adjust the quantity of milk based on your desired cheesiness.
  5. Add the drained pasta back into the pot with the cheesy mixture. Stir until well combined.
  6. Pour in the seasoned ground beef mixture and stir everything together. Heat through until the entire dish is well heated.
  7. Serve your Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight hot, with your choice of toppings such as sour cream, salsa, or any other favorites.

Enjoy your fusion of taco flavors and comforting mac and cheese goodness!

Here are some tips to make your Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight even more delightful:

  1. Customize Toppings: Encourage everyone to personalize their dish with a variety of toppings such as sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, or avocado. This adds freshness and extra flavors.
  2. Use Different Cheese: Experiment with different cheese varieties for the shredded blend. Pepper Jack, cheddar, or Monterey Jack can add unique flavors to the dish.
  3. Spice it Up: Adjust the spice level according to your preference. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
  4. Add Beans: If you like, stir in a can of drained and rinsed black beans or kidney beans to add protein and texture to your Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight.
  5. Fresh Lime Juice: Squeeze fresh lime juice over the finished dish just before serving. The citrusy kick adds brightness and balances the richness of the cheese.
  6. Crunchy Texture: Top each serving with crushed tortilla chips or toasted breadcrumbs for a delightful crunch.
  7. Grilled Meat Option: Consider using grilled chicken or shrimp instead of ground beef for a different protein option. The smoky flavor can elevate the dish.
  8. Fresh Herbs: Finish the dish with a handful of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for a burst of freshness.
  9. Roasted Vegetables: Toss in roasted vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or corn to add sweetness and depth to the flavor profile.
  10. Half-and-Half: For a creamier texture, substitute half of the milk with heavy cream or half-and-half. This adds a luxurious touch to the cheese sauce.
  11. Bake for a Crispy Top: Transfer the combined mixture to a baking dish, top with additional cheese, and bake until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  12. Meal Prep Friendly: Prepare components ahead of time, such as browning the meat and cooking the pasta. Assemble and reheat for a quick and easy meal during busy days.

Remember to adjust these tips based on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Enjoy your Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight!

Here are some popular questions and answers related to Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight:

Q1: Can I make Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight ahead of time? A1: Yes, you can prepare the components ahead of time and assemble before serving. Reheat gently to maintain the creamy texture.

Q2: What can I use as a meat substitute? A2: Grilled chicken, ground turkey, or meat alternatives like plant-based crumbles can be used as substitutes for ground beef.

Q3: Can I freeze Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight? A3: While it can be frozen, the texture may change slightly upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for a day or two.

Q4: How do I reheat leftovers? A4: Reheat in the microwave, adding a splash of milk to maintain creaminess. Alternatively, reheat in the oven at a low temperature.

Q5: Can I use different pasta shapes? A5: Yes, you can use your favorite pasta shape. Penne, elbow macaroni, or rotini work well in this dish.

Q6: What’s the best way to prevent the cheese sauce from becoming too thick? A6: Gradually add milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency. If it thickens upon reheating, stir in a little extra milk.

Q7: How can I make it spicier? A7: Increase the amount of chili powder, add cayenne pepper, or include diced jalapeños for more heat.

Q8: Can I make it vegetarian? A8: Absolutely! Omit the ground beef and consider adding black beans, corn, or other vegetables for a delicious vegetarian version.

Q9: Is Velveeta necessary, or can I use all shredded cheese? A9: Velveeta adds creaminess, but you can use all shredded cheese if preferred. Adjust the quantity to achieve the desired texture.

Q10: Can I make it gluten-free? A10: Yes, use gluten-free pasta and ensure that all seasonings and ingredients are gluten-free. Check the labels for any processed items.

Q11: Can I make it in a slow cooker? A11: While possible, it’s best to cook the meat and pasta separately, then combine and melt the cheese on the stovetop for optimal results.

Q12: What are some creative toppings? A12: Consider toppings like diced avocado, fresh cilantro, salsa, or crushed tortilla chips for added texture and flavor.

Feel free to ask if you have more questions or need additional information!

 Here are some secrets to make it absolutely delicious:

  1. Balanced Seasoning: Ensure a well-balanced mix of spices. Taste and adjust the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and other seasonings to achieve a harmonious and flavorful blend.
  2. Quality Cheese: Use high-quality cheeses for both Velveeta and the shredded blend. A mix of sharp cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack can contribute to a rich and complex flavor profile.
  3. Gradual Melting: When incorporating the cheeses, melt them gradually over low to medium heat. This helps to create a smooth and creamy texture without any clumps.
  4. Proper Pasta Cooking: Cook the pasta just until al dente. Overcooked pasta can become mushy when combined with the cheese sauce and meat mixture. Drain and set aside promptly.
  5. Reserve Pasta Water: If needed, reserve a small amount of pasta water before draining. Adding a splash of this starchy water to the cheese sauce can help maintain a creamy consistency.
  6. Customizable Toppings: Let everyone personalize their dish with an array of toppings. This not only enhances flavor but also adds texture and freshness. Consider options like diced tomatoes, avocado, or a dollop of sour cream.
  7. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh garlic and onions for the meat mixture. The aroma and flavors from fresh ingredients can significantly elevate the overall dish.
  8. Mindful Heat Control: Be cautious with the heat when melting the cheeses. Too high heat can cause the cheese to separate and become grainy. Use low to medium heat and stir constantly.
  9. Layering Flavors: Allow the seasoned meat mixture to simmer and thicken, giving the spices time to infuse into the dish. This builds layers of flavor.
  10. Experiment with Pasta Shapes: While the recipe suggests penne, feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes. Some shapes may hold the cheese sauce and seasonings differently, providing a unique eating experience.
  11. Fresh Lime Squeeze: Just before serving, a squeeze of fresh lime juice can add a touch of brightness and acidity, balancing the richness of the cheese.
  12. Patience is Key: Let the dish sit for a couple of minutes after combining all the elements. This allows the flavors to meld and the pasta to absorb the cheesy goodness.

Remember, these secrets are adaptable based on personal preferences, so feel free to adjust to your liking. Enjoy your perfect Cheesy Taco Pasta Delight!

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