Crowd Pleasers

Taco Macaroni and Cheese Bake

This baked mac and cheese combines Wisconsin pepper jack, cheddar and cream cheese with ground beef and fresh vegetables to give you all the flavor of your favorite taco in a bowl. 

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Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1 pound) cavatappi pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 15-ounce can corn kernels, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin pepper jack cheese, shredded and divided
  •   sour cream and scallions for serving, optional

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter 9x13-inch baking dish.

In large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil; add pasta. Stir, return to boil, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well.

In large skillet or Dutch oven, sauté beef and onion over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Stir in garlic and taco seasoning. Add corn, tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, green chilies, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, 1 cup cheddar 1 cup pepper jack and simmer until melted and smooth. Add pasta, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into baking dish; top with remaining cheddar and pepper jack cheese.

Bake until golden brown and cheeses are melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and scallions, if desired.

Tip: Unbaked mac and cheese may be made ahead and refrigerated. Add 5 to 10 minutes to baking time.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.