Southwestern Macaroni Casserole
Southwestern Macaroni Casserole, packed with protein and flavor, this casserole is perfect for feeding a crowd or meal-prepping for the week ahead.
To start, cook a box of elbow macaroni until al dente, then set aside. In a large skillet, cook 2 pounds of ground beef until no longer pink, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. In the same skillet, sauté a chopped onion until translucent, then add minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Return the cooked ground beef to the skillet and add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato paste, chopped green chilies, taco seasoning, garlic salt, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next, add the cooked macaroni to the skillet and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large greased baking dish and top with shredded Mexican Style cheese blend and chopped jalapeno peppers (if desired). Cover with foil and bake at 375° for 40 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes to allow the cheese to get golden and bubbly.
This casserole can be split into two smaller dishes and one can be frozen for later. To use the frozen casserole, simply thaw in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes, cover with foil, and bake as directed.
Not only is this Southwestern Macaroni Casserole recipe delicious, but it’s also versatile. You can customize it to your liking by adding more or less spice or swapping out the type of beans or cheese. Give it a try for your next dinner and watch it become a family favorite.
Southwestern Macaroni Casserole
- 1 (1 lb) box uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large white or yellow onion chopped
- 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 (14-1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
- 3 teaspoons prepared taco seasoning mix
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt add more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Mexican Style cheese blend use more or less as desired
- 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped (mix inside or sprinkle on top + optional)
Cook the macaroni until al dente (al dente will be a few minutes less than the package directions), drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, over medium heat cook ground beef until no longer pink. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and absorb the grease.
In the same skillet sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent, then add the garlic. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic. Return the cooked ground beef to the skillet. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato paste, green chilies, taco seasoning, garlic salt, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the drained macaroni into the mixture, mix until combined.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Transfer macaroni mixture to a large greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Mexican Blend cheese and jalapeno. (Split in two if needed and freeze one for later.)
Cover with foil (spray the underside of the foil with non-stick cooking spray to keep the cheese from sticking to the foil), and bake for 40 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes and bake until bubbling and heated through.
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover with foil (spray the underside of the foil with non-stick cooking spray to keep the cheese from sticking to the foil), and bake for 40 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes and bake until bubbling and heated through.