You can also pick and choose your spices depending on your taste, but I'm going the Mexican route because...well...it's Mexican! Is there anyone out there that doesn't like Mexican food? Now I'm curious. I see a food survey in this blog's future.
Here is what you'll need:
- 1 (8-ounce) package of small elbow macaroni
- Olive oil/cooking spray (whatever floats your boat. I use both)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef (or sirloin if you're up for it)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup (fat-free) milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- A dash of nutmeg
- A pinch or two of spices of your choosing. I recommend a little of oregano, cumin, and chili powder for an extra kick
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
Cook pasta according to the package directions (about 8 minutes). Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.
In a really deep skillet or a dutch oven (if you're lucky enough to own one *sigh*) throw in the onion and carrot and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the onion looks clear.
Add garlic and saute for another minute or so. Throw in the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until browned, making sure you break it up nice and small (think Taco meat).
Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates.
Add pasta to beef mixture and spoon the whole thing into an 11 x 7-inch baking pan (or 13 x 9 because I always end up over-measuring) coated with cooking spray.
Now pour the milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat, adding flour, nutmeg, salt, and whatever spices you settled on.
Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 and half cups cheese and stir until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture over pasta mixture. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and base at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Let it cool off for a minute or two before serving.
Scoop a few spoonfuls into a bowl.
Grab a fork, stick into food, then bring it over to your mouth.
Open wide and CHOMP!