One of my nearest and dearest friends (K) and I have grown up together since we were in the 7th grade. Our dads met at work and found out that they each had daughters the same age, at the same school, and in the same grade. Our families had moved to the area at about the same time and our dads were working in the same department. We were destined to be friends. I don't get to see her very often (although she did come stay with us at the end of September for a few days--it was glorious!), but I always think of her whenever I eat Hamburger Helper. To begin, I'm definitely not "above" having Hamburger Helper and I think it's quite convenient in a pinch. Regularly they are on sale for $1 at the grocery store so I can feed us for under $5 if I have to. Growing up, we ate a lot of Hamburger Helper since we were on a fixed budget. That being said, as K and I became closer and closer, she was always at our house. If she was there during dinnertime, it seemed like we were having was Hamburger Helper! Again, the $1 price tag is quite intriguing! Serve with a salad and a can of corn or green beans and you've really got a good meal to serve a family! When my mom found out that K was coming to stay with us for a few days, she sent me a box of Hamburger Helper as a joke and I told K that that was what I was making for dinner to welcome her! She died laughing because she really can only remember eating it at our house! Good times! When I stumbled on this recipe at Annie's Eats, I knew I wanted to try it to see if it lived up to the ease of the boxed meal. It really did, and it was much healthier, too! Maybe I'll make this for K next time she comes!
Creamy Taco Mac
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
1 lb ground turkey
8 oz. dry pasta (like tubes, bowties, shells, elbows, or curls)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14 oz) can Rotel's (or Mexican style diced tomatoes)
1 packet Lawry's taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, diced
-Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water; set the water aside. Return pasta to large pot.
-In a large skillet, cook the onion and ground turkey over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Once the turkey is cooked, add in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
-Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
-Transfer the turkey-tomato mixture to the pasta pot. Add in the cream cheese, sour cream, and reserved pasta water. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheese and green onions!