My Dad was a great cook. He was a master of ribs and loved Italian food. He didn’t shy away from a challenge in the kitchen. He took inspiration from his world travels while he was in the Navy. BUT, despite all that, one of my Dad’s favorite things was Hamburger Helper. Why he loved the quick, powdered cheese, pasta and beef concoction I will never know but any time I see the Helping Hand dancing around in commercials or see that familiar box on the grocery store shelves I can’t help but smile and remember the lunches I ate while visiting my Dad on the weekends.
Now that I’m all grown up and have a big girl job, a home and a husband I totally understand the need for convenience food but let’s be honest, those things are never very good for you. I’m always on a mission to find yummy, healthy, budget-friendly, quick-cooking dinners to put on the table. When I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Annie’s Eats, I couldn’t wait to try it! The only thing I did differently was add a few more veggies which my Dad would have turned his nose up at (he was kinda picky when it came to anything green!).
What are your favorite quick weeknight meals?
Creamy Taco Mac
- Olive oil
- 1¼ lbs. ground turkey breast
- 8 oz. dry pasta (I used mini penne because it reminded me of the box!)
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 tbsp. taco seasoning (I use Old El Paso in the packet)
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- Parsley, chopped (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Set aside. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and cook a few minutes to soften. Add ground turkey breast and cook until no longer pink. When the turkey is cooked through add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add the pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water to the pan and stir until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce comes together. Stir in the frozen green peas (they will thaw as it simmers). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce. Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheddar cheese and parsley, if desired.
Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats – Creamy Taco Mac