Sometimes I just ask my hubs to pick one ingredient to inspire me for dinner ideas. This was one of those times. I had already settled on a pasta dish but I couldn’t decide which direction to go other than that I didn’t want red sauce. So I asked and he delivered Ground Beef. The gears started turning and Cowboy Pasta was the tasty tasty result. A homemade Mac & Cheese loaded up with beef, bacon, jalapenos, tomatoes and corn!
If you want to kick up the heat a little more you could do a couple of different things. You could use the larger can of diced jalapenos. You could add red pepper flakes to the ground beef when you add the cumin and chili powder. Or you could serve it with some pickled jalapenos on top. On the other hand, if you want to dial it down a little, you could swap out the jalapenos for green chilies.
This is a seriously hearty dish, so sides are really not needed. My boys all went back for seconds and there were no complaints about it not being enough food. As always, if you are stretching this for more people or trying to make leftovers a green salad or other green veggie like steamed broccoli would be a great accompaniment.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
- 1½ lb Ground Beef
- ½ Red Onion diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 can Sweet Corn drained
- 1½ lb Short Pasta shells, rotini, elbows
- ½ lb Bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
For the Cheese Sauce
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 4 tbsp Flour
- 2 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 4oz can Diced Jalapenos
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded.
- Prepare all of the ingredients. Start water boiling for pasta.
- In a frying pan over medium-high heat, add bacon. Cook until crispy then remove to paper towel covered plate.
- In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, add oil, onions and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes then add ground beef, cumin and chili powder. Crumble and cook until no longer pink. Add tomatoes and corn, then reduce heat to low.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on package. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water to arrest cooking. Return to pot, away from heat.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter and garlic powder. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for 2 minutes then whisk in chicken broth. Cook for 2 minutes then whisk in heavy cream. Cook for 2 minutes then add jalapenos and cheese. Continue to stir until fully melted and combined.
- Add bacon, meat mixture and cheese sauce to pasta in pot and stir to combine.
Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:
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