One thing we all need is a good one-pot recipe that we can add to the rotation for an easier time on more difficult days. If you have a hectic schedule or a– “schedule? WHAT schedule?”– type of schedule, an easy all-in-one pasta dish is the way to go. Way better than any premade skillet meal box mix you can find at the store is my Easy Ground Beef Pasta. Easy is the operative word, but this beefy and cheesy skillet meal is also packed with delicious Mexican-inspired flavors.
The cooking process is so simple with this dish that you won’t believe it has so much great stuff and uses so few pots. Forget the stuff you have in your pantry and start making your hamburger pasta meals this way!
Skillet VS Dutch Oven
You can make this one-pot meal in a large skillet or in a dutch oven. It just depends on which you have, or if you have both, which you prefer. You can also make this meal in a large pot or an Instant Pot if that is your go-to kitchen cooking appliance. The dutch oven and skillet both serve the same practical purpose but there are some distinctions that might impact the choice you make when cooking this easy ground beef pasta and other similar dishes.
Skillets have a wider base and Dutch ovens are taller. That means that with a Dutch oven it will take a little bit longer for your ingredients to heat through. With the pasta and beef spread out around a skillet, it will brown and cook more thoroughly in a shorter period of time. On the other hand, if you don’t have a wide enough skillet, the higher walls of a Dutch oven will make stirring easier and less messy.
What is the Best Ratio for the Ground Beef?
Ground beef comes in a range of ratios concerning the percentage of fat in your meat. a good middle-of-the-road percentage of fat is 20%. That would be an 80/20 blend. 80/20 is a popular choice for juicy and flavorful burgers, but when the fat content is too high, you lose a high volume of usable meat. A 70/30 blend of ground beef will yield much less beef than you start with. A lean ground beef with a ratio of 90/10 or higher will result in a finished product that more closely resembles the amount of ground beef you had to begin with.
The price difference between these options is significant, so you may have to compromise on either the cost or the quality to make the best choice. It helps to keep in mind what occasion you are prepping this meal for and who will be eating it. I have found that the best value for the price is usually just a little leaner than 80/20. Not super lean, but a bit less fat content than the more common option.
Prepping the Onions and Jalapeno for Easy Ground Beef Pasta
Two things I love to keep in my recipes are jalapenos and onions. They are the easiest way to bring more flavor and substance to a recipe. Especially if you are a fan of spicier food and southwest flavors. These ingredients require some special attention when preparing to cook your meal, but it’s well worth it to learn how to handle these foods. Especially onions. If you are unfamiliar with how to cut up an onion it is far less complicated than you think. There is always a trick to everything and cutting up onions Is no different. It doesn’t have to end in tears. If you do it right, it can be fast and simple and you will get the best results in the flavor of your dish.
First, be aware of the bulb. You want to keep the onion held together at the base while you are making your cuts. It makes the process go more smoothly and creates less mess. You can quickly dice onions or cut them as fine as you like using this method. The first thing is to cut the onion in half and place it on a cutting board. Make slices all the way through the onion, stopping just short of the bulb so that the whole thing stays together.
Once you have made cuts all the way across the onion, turn your knife sideways and slice horizontally across the center of the onion using your other hand to press the onion down gently. You can do this once through the center or twice to cut three layers depending on how fine you want it. Finally, turn the onion 90 degrees and cut across the slices all the way through until you get to the bulb. Then discard the unused portion.
How to Deseed A Jalapeno
Jalapenos are even easier to prepare. You just need to cut them in half and scoop out the seeds using a paring knife before you dice them up. Just remember to wear gloves or to wash your hands frequently. Be careful not to touch your face when cutting jalapenos!
What to Serve with Easy Ground Beef Pasta
One of the things I love best about this easy ground beef pasta is that it can be a meal unto itself. There is nothing easier than that. It’s not exactly a side dish, so you don’t need to prepare anything else. However, if you would prefer to serve it with some greens a good Caesar or garden salad will do nicely. This comfort food recipe also works well with a tasty veggie appetizer like fried Brussels sprouts or cheesy broccoli.
Easy Ground Beef Pasta Leftovers
Leftover ground beef pasta will do well refrigerated in an air-tight container for a few days. If you decide to make this in advance and freeze it for later, it will hold for over a month. If you are making it to freeze and reheat later, I recommend undercooking the pasta just a bit so that you don’t make it too soggy on the second cook. You can finish it off in the microwave by spritzing it with a little bit of water and a tablespoon of butter to reheat it without drying it out.
This pasta dish can be made with chicken, ground turkey, even Italian sausage works in this recipe. Using different pasta like rigatoni, shells and even spaghetti noodles work well too. If using chicken, use chicken broth and if using ground turkey, use vegetable broth in place of beef broth. Also, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and extra veggies tastes delicious and make a great addition. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
Ingredients to Make Easy Ground Beef Pasta
- Ground beef
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Taco seasoning
- Beef broth
- Elbow macaroni
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
How To Make Easy Ground Beef Pasta Recipe
Sautéing the Vegetables – Using a large skillet, large pot, or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add meat, onions, jalapenos, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over until ground beef is no longer pink and onions and jalapeños are tender. Drain and return to pan.
Seasoning the Meat – Sprinkle taco seasoning over the meat mixture. Stir. Pour beef broth and Rotel® into meat mixture and bring to a boil.
Adding the Pasta and Cheese – Add pasta, stir and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese into pan. Stir until melted. Finally, add cream cheese and sour cream and stir until combined.
Serving – Spoon into individual serving bowls and top with remaining cheese. Enjoy!
Try This Easy Budget Friendly Pasta Recipe Today
More Delicious Ground Beef Recipes
- Homemade Lasagna
- Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Easy Enchiladas with Beef and Beans
- Taco Pasta
- And a delicious Cheesy Ground Beef Empanadas recipe from Great Grub, Delicious Treats.
Easy Ground Beef Pasta
- 1½ pounds lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons taco seasoning or 1 taco packet
- 10 ounce can Rotel
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 cups elbow macaroni noodles (8 ounces)
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- ½ cup sour cream
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add meat, onions, jalapeno, salt, and pepper.
- Cook over medium heat until ground beef is no longer pink and onions and jalapenos are tender.
- Drain and return to pan.
- Sprinkle meat mixture with taco seasoning. Stir.
- Pour beef broth and Rotel into meat mixture.
- Bring to a boil, then add pasta. Stir and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of cheese into pan. Stir until melted.
- Next, add cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until melted.
- Add to serving bowls and top with remaining cheese.
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.