One-Skillet Tex Mex Beef Mac & Cheese
One-Skillet Tex Mex Beef Mac & Cheese – An EASY recipe that’s made in ONE skillet so you don’t have to cook the pasta separately!! Loaded with ground beef, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and cilantro! A family FAVORITE that feeds a crowd!!
My family never says no to Mexican food or to mac & cheese and this recipe marries the two. It’s easy comfort food that’s fast enough to make for busy weeknights and will be a guaranteed winner and family favorite.
One of the things I dislike about making scratch mac & cheese is that you dirty a lot of pots, pans, and colanders. Boiling noodles, draining them, melting the butter and cheese for the cheese sauce, and so forth.
However, with this recipe there is none of that. One skillet is music to my ears.
How To Make The Tex Mex Beef Mac & Cheese
Simply brown ground beef with an onion and then add red bell pepper, corn, uncooked (dry) elbow macaroni, water, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Tex Mex-inspired spices like cumin, chili powder, and Mexican oregano.
Cover the skillet and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender. No need to boil the pasta in advance or drain anything later. This recipe is all about ease and convenience.
Stir in cheese, garnish with cilantro, and dinner is served.
You Control The Spiciness
I added a full tablespoon of chili powder, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and we did not find this spicy at all. Rather, it had flavor and wasn’t bland. Tex Mex isn’t supposed to be bland.
If your family is very sensitive to heat and spices, you can always halve the amounts of the spices, omit the cayenne, and if later it tastes a little bland or boring, you can add more spice, to your taste.
Don’t be afraid to salt this, either. I needed to add another teaspoon at the end so that it was balanced. There’s a pound of ground beef, a big onion and a bell pepper, pasta, and a cup of water. It’s only natural you need to salt this fairly generously for optimal taste.
Freezer-Friendly and Feeds A Crowd
The recipe makes a big batch of mac & cheese and will definitely feed a crowd. It’s hearty comfort food that keeps you nicely satisfied.
However, if you don’t have a big family or aren’t feeding a group, freeze the leftovers in individual containers like I do. It’s always nice to have a freezer stash on hand for those nights when you are too tired to cook or you’ve got hungry kids (or yourself) that you need to feed, pronto.
Favorite Easy Mac and Cheese Recipes:
- Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese – Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro! Easy comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family favorite!
- 20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese – Almost as fast and easy as using a box but tastes a million times better! So creamy, ridiculously cheesy, and the extra sharp white cheddar cheese gives this mac and cheese so much flavor!
- Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese – Classic mac and cheese the whole family will love! The creamy, cheesy comfort food you crave! So much better than anything out of a box and just as easy!
- Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese – The pumpkin flavor is subtle compared to the super cheesy and creamy factor! The pumpkin boosts the cheesiness to a whole new level everyone loves!
- One Skillet Beef Taco Pasta – An easy recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes, made in one skillet, and loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors! A family favorite that’s great for busy weeknights!
One-Skillet Tex Mex Beef Mac & Cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large/extra-large sweet vidalia onion, diced small
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 90% lean)
- 1 large/extra large red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 cup corn (I used frozen straight from the freezer)
- 1 cup elbow macaroni (dry, uncooked)
- 1 cup water
- one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- one 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon cumin, plus more if desired
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (regular oregano may be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if desired
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican shredded cheese blend)
- fresh cilantro, finely minced for garnishing
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, onion, beef, and cook over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through and onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes; crumble beef and stir frequently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the bell pepper, corn, macaroni, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, stir to combine, lower heat to medium low, cover, and allow mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender and cooked through. Stir a couple times while simmering to ensure even cooking.
- Uncover, turn off the heat, add the cheese, and stir to combine and until melted. Taste and check for seasoning balance. If necessary add more salt or seasonings (I added an additional 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin).
- Evenly sprinkle the cilantro and serve immediately. Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
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Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese – Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro! Easy comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family favorite!
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese – Classic mac and cheese the whole family will love! The creamy, cheesy comfort food you crave! So much better than anything out of a box and just as easy!
One Skillet Beef Taco Pasta – An easy recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes, made in one skillet, and loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors! A family favorite that’s great for busy weeknights!
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Quinoa – All the flavor of chicken enchiladas, minus the work of rolling them!! Juicy chicken, corn, black beans, peppers, and loads of melted cheese! Easy, one-skillet, and ready in 30 minutes!
Taco Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with great Mexican-inspired ingredients including corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more! Perfect for picnics, parties, and potlucks!
Cheesy Beef Taco Pie – Your favorite taco ingredients baked into a savory, cheesy pie! Ground beef, tomatoes, tortilla chips, and more! Great for parties, tailgating, or easy family dinners and everyone loves it!
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese – The pumpkin flavor is subtle compared to the super cheesy and creamy factor! The pumpkin boosts the cheesiness to a whole new level everyone loves!
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – A perfect use for leftover macaroni! Bread it, bake it, devour it!