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tomato pieces with cheese melted over the top for the Easy Taco Bake Casserole
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5 from 1 vote

Easy Taco Bake Casserole

Festive, tasty, meaty and the perfect answer to “what’s for supper”! This Easy Taco Casserole will have you ready for dinner in minutes, using what you have in the pantry and fridge because there are literally HUNDREDS of substitutions! Get a whiz bang mouthful today!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy taco bake, taco bake, taco casserole
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 521kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker
Cost: $12

Equipment

  • Frying Pan
  • spatulas
  • wooden spoons
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small sauce pan
  • 9x13 baking dish
  • medium size bowl

Ingredients

  • Non stick spray
  • 4 Cups Elbow Pasta same as 2 Cups of uncooked pasta
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbs Chili powder
  • ½ Cup water
  • 8 oz Velveeta shredded or cut into 1” cubes - works best shredded
  • 15 oz Tomatoes and Green Chilis
  • 15 oz black beans drained
  • 15 oz mexicorn drained
  • 15 oz diced tomato drained
  • 1 ½ Cup Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Olives chopped green chilis, hot sauce

Instructions

  • Prepare a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and pour the elbow macaroni noodles into the bottom of the 9x13 pan and spread out well and then set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • In a frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the ground beef until just past pink and then add the taco seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder. Mix well. Add the water and place a lid on the frying pan, set the heat to low to achieve a slow simmer. Stir every minute or two and replace the lid.
  • After 3 minutes, add the velveeta and tomatoes with green chilis to the hamburger mix. Stir. Replace the lid. Continue to intermittently stir until the cheese is well melted and the tomatoes and green chilis are well incorporated.
  • Into a large bowl, pour the black beans, mexicorn and tomatoes together and gently mix well. (If you are using any of the optional ingredients, add those here as well).
  • Once the velveeta is melted well, pour the hamburger mixture and spread over the macaroni noodles. Then pour the bean, corn and tomato mix over the top of the hamburger mixture. Top with shredded monterey jack cheese.
  • Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until the cheese is melty and browned and you can see bubbles from the bottom.
  • Serve over a bed of lettuce or corn chips. Top with your choice of taco sauce, sour cream, hot sauce, and green onions.

Video

Notes

  • If you plan to bake this dish a day or so after assembling it, then undercook the noodles by about 2 minutes. They may absorb some of the fluids and become to mushy otherwise. 
  • Cook the beef until it is JUST past pink. If you cook it much longer, it will become dry in the final dish. 
  • I use corn, black beans and tomatoes because that is a pretty combination, but feel free to change up the veggies based on your own preferences. 
  • Serve this dish with a salad or over lettuce and top with sour cream, corn chips, cilantro and salsa for a wonderful treat.
  • Be sure to carefully drain the veggies you use on the top, you do not want a lot of liquid or it will make the whole dish soupy.
Substitutions: 
Ground Beef: Shredded Chicken, Sausage, Kielbasa, Steak, vegetarian meat replacements, TVP, Red Beans, turkey, ground chicken, etc.
Velveeta: Cheddar Cheese, 4 oz of cheese slices
Beans, Mexicorn and Tomato - you can substitute out whatever you like on your tacos or whatever you have in your pantry. Combinations of beans, corn and tomato often work together well.
Elbow Pasta: This is where you can get REALLY creative! You can use any of these: Rice, Mashed potatoes, tater tots, hashbrown potatoes, tortilla shells, cauliflower, mashed cauliflower (thickest version you can make), canned biscuits or crescent rolls, bread (cut the crust off or cut into cubes). You can use virtually ANY starchy type base you want, but personally, if you have some, I really like the cooked pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 538mg | Potassium: 675mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 611IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 269mg | Iron: 4mg