Here's What You Need to Make the TACO PASTA BAKE:
- about 3/4 box penne pasta (I always use 100% whole grain)
- 1 pound lean ground beef (you can also use ground turkey)
- 1 packet of taco seasoning (I use Old El Paso Low Sodium)
- 2 cups water
- 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes
- 3 cups shredded mexican cheese
- extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the meat and greasing the pan)
Now Let's Make the Taco Pasta Bake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9x13 casserole dish lightly with oil
- Cook penne pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water - cook pasta until about 3 minutes shy of al dente (it will cook more in the oven)
- Meanwhile in a separate pan, cook your ground beef in a bit of olive oil, crumbling and browning the meat until cooked through
- Add your packet of taco seasoning, water, and cubed cream cheese
- Stir the mixture until the cream cheese is melted
- Add pasta to the meat mixture
- Pour everything into your greased casserole dish
- Sprinkle one cup of mexican cheese over the top and stir lightly to distribute cheese throughout the casserole (the casserole will look soupy- see picture below - but the liquid gets absorbed during the cooking, creating a delicious and creamy casserole)
- Sprinkle remaining two cups of cheese on top
- Bake in oven for 30 - 40 minutes until casserole is done to your liking
- Allow to sit and cool for about 5 minutes before serving
When you first pour your pasta/meat/cream cheese mixture into the pan it will look soupy like this but do not panic! That extra liquid will help the pasta to finish cooking and make your casserole delightfully rich and creamy!
Your casserole will look like this when done! Do you see all of that delicious cheese on top?!?
John and I enjoyed our casserole on the couch while watching that days episode of General Hospital (don't judge)!
I love love love my version of Taco Pasta Bake, and I know that you will too! It is perfect for the cool fall and winter weather! Plus this makes a lot! It will feed a large family or a small family with leftovers!