Quick and Kid-Friendly

Most, if not all, of you have probably heard of chili mac and you might even have your favorite recipes for it. But, at my home, taco mac rules. It's a similar idea -- but instead of mixing macaroni with chili, I toss the noodles with my mom-approved taco mix:

And, despite being packed with healthy stuff like tomatoes, black beans, and corn, I get cheers from the youngster at my table. Now, when I last made it and took the photo above, I used a little sour cream and avocado as toppings, but we've also opted for chopped fresh tomatoes, green onions, salsa, and even a little shredded beauty heart radish (sometimes, my kid is really a foodie). And, while not required, I've found that serving something this yummy on hand-painted Sesame Street china from the 70s brings extra smiles:

When the week's running low on time and patience, recipes like this that are quick, healthy, easy to cleanup afterward, and likely to have the munchkins around your table asking for second helpings are a magical dream come true. No, you're not a princess in a fairy tale and no Prince Charmings are required, though a helpful husband to help with the dishes isn't too far off!

Taco Mac

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning -- or your favorite Tex-Mex type seasoning
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained according to package directions
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream and chopped avocado, for topping (optional)

Brown the ground beef over medium high heat. While cooking, break it up into small pieces. Near the end of cooking, add the tomatoes, garlic, and seasoning. When the beef is fully browned, add the corn starch and water and increase the heat briefly to high. When the mixture bubbles and thickens, reduce the heat to low and add the beans and corn. Simmer for 5 minutes and adjust the seasoning.

Toss the taco meat mixture and the elbow macaroni until the noodles are well-covered. Top with shredded cheese and remove from the heat. Serve warm and topped with sour cream and avocado, if desired.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes