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This one pot Creamy Taco Macaroni Skillet is comfort food at it’s finest! Serve it up topped with sour cream and fresh, minced cilantro.
Ready in 30 minutes
I think you can tell exactly where someone is in their life by their pots and pans. You start off in your first apartment, probably with a few extra hand-me-downs from your parents’ kitchen. Then, eventually, you start making your own money, and decide to throw some of your hard-earned cash on a starter set of cookware (or maybe someone bought some for you). And those are probably the pots and pans that you really grew to love cooking on. Those are the pots that taught you how to make a pan sauce or how long to boil caramel for. You learned the ins and outs of those pans.
And then, you start to realize that maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Maybe your old pots and pans are starting to get a little bit worn. The handles are loose. The finish is dull. The lid broke that one time you dropped it while making spaghetti sauce. You look at your stash of pots and pans, and what once was this great key to your cooking success, feels like a hinderance. It’s time to upgrade.
That’s exactly where I am right now.
For someone who cooks for a living, my cookware is impressively horrible. Not only do I not have enough of it (a large portion of my cookware was non-stick—we got rid of those a while back, leaving me with just a few pieces), but the ones I do aren’t very good quality. They’ve served me well for the past decade of independence. But I think it’s time for me to move on up to something that is fit for a professional foodie.
I’ve been doing research about where I want to drop my cash on my cookware upgrade, so I know what I want in my new pots and pans. I’ve decided on all stainless steel. I know ceramic cookware is all the rage right now, and I might eventually grab a good ceramic skillet for scrambling eggs, but I really want to stick with the timeless elegance (and usefulness) that is stainless steel. I also want something with no plastic parts (because we try to avoid plastic in our kitchen, and I’d like for it to all be oven safe), and I want something heavy duty and strong. My pots and pans take a beating, and I need to know that they can survive a bump or bruise.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I pretty much flipped when OXO asked me if I’d be willing to review their new Stainless Steel Pro cookware. This line was exactly what I was looking for. They sent me the 12 inch stainless steel wok with cover, and I have to tell you, I’m obsessed with it. It is heavy, sturdy, and absolutely beautiful. It cooks amazingly evenly, and even though it is all metal, the handle somehow stays cool. It’s like beautiful cookware magic.
They call this a “wok” but I’d consider it more of a wok/skillet hybrid. It’s got some of the conical shape of a wok, but it’s not so severe that you can’t use it for dishes that need an everyday skillet. Heck, the sides are even high enough that it could act like a big, wide saucepan. I’m almost contemplating throwing out every other pot and skillet in my collection (other than my cast iron) and dedicating a whole shelf to this pan. She’s a beaut. I think I’m in love.
This line of cookware is a bit on the pricey side (although, not nearly as much as some sets), but I think the quality makes it well worth it. And considering they have a lifetime warranty, I feel comfortable putting down a nice chunk of change for the exact cookware I want to cook on for the rest of my life. I’ll be saving my pennies to finish out my set! I’m so excited that I found my cookware match (or, well, I guess it found me, but whatever, we’re together now, and no one will ever break us apart).
Okay, enough of me fawning over a hunk of metal. Let’s talk creamy taco macaroni skillet! This recipe. Guys, this recipe is pretty much my idea of comfort food. I love mac and cheese, pizza and ice cream as much as the next gal, but if I need comfort, a big, steaming bowl of this spicy, creamy taco macaroni skillet is where I’ll go every. single. time.
We probably eat this taco macaroni skillet at least once a week. Not only is it super delicious and good for you, but it also comes together in a flash. This is one of those one pot wonders that leaves your belly full and your kitchen clean. It’s the perfect dish to eat on a crazy school night.
When you go to make this, you’re probably going to think I’m a little crazy, because at one point, I tell you to put three whole cups of water into the skillet. You’ll stir it around, and it’ll look like the pasta and other ingredients are drowning in a lake. It’ll look like it will never, ever come together to be the creamy taco macaroni skillet you see in these photos. You’ll get nervous. But fear not.
After a few minutes of boiling, the macaroni softens and absorbs some of the liquid, and the sauce becomes super rich, velvety, and, well, dreamy. We can call it dreamy, right?
The second part of getting the sauce creamy is a cup of full fat coconut milk (the stuff that comes in the can). It lends just a little bit of sweetness, and a ton of velvety texture to the dish. If you don’t have coconut milk around, you can also sub in about a half cup of plain Greek yogurt. Just make sure to let the dish cool for a few minutes before mixing the yogurt in. Greek yogurt tends to break down and get clumpy and lumpy if it is mixed with too hot of food. Just take the pan off the burner for 5-10 minutes, then mix your yogurt in, and you should be good.
If you’re a vegetarian or gluten-free or dairy-free, this taco macaroni skillet will take a lot of adaptation and keep on keepin’ on. Leave out the beef and instead try lean ground turkey, more beans, or even cubed tofu. Use gluten-free pasta if that’s your bag. And if you don’t top the dish with sour cream, you’ve got a totally dairy-free dinner. Adapt away!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles (recommended: Muir Glen)
- 1-14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (recommended: Eden Organic)
- 1 package taco seasoning (or make your own)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni (recommended: Barilla)
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk (recommended Native Forest)
- Sour cream, shredded cheese, minced cilantro, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until just tender and fragrant, about five minutes. Add in the ground beef, and cook until browned.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, black beans, taco seasoning, water and elbow macaroni. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is done and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Spoon into bowls and top with desired toppings.
For this recipe, I recommend:
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About OXO Cookware
The OXO Stainless Steel Pro line features the elegance and durability of stainless steel with the superior heat conductivity of aluminum. The professional-grade materials ensure high-quality cooking performance and have a lifetime warranty.