Sneaky Cheesy Taco Macaroni

I recently came across The Shrinking Kitchen. If you are sick of cooking the same old things every week this site has some great meal plans and a printable grocery list. This was the first recipe I tried from the site and I already have plans to alter it a little more but I think this would be an awesome introduction meal for a child who is a picky eater or who won’t eat veggies. I thought it would be a perfect meal for my niece who says we only have “garbage” to eat at our house :)

The black beans are nourishing to the kidneys and the butternut squash and spices aid the spleen making it a good meal for these cold days as well as a meal to transition from winter to spring.

Here it the original recipe. Below are my adaptations and I share a few hints at the end too.

What you need:

1 pound of organic ground beef

1 can of black beans, drained (I would have added 2 if I had an extra)

1 can of diced tomatoes with chiles with juice (same as beans)

4 cups of water

4 cups brown rice penne pasta

DIY taco seasoning, thanks Mavis this is basically me throwing sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and Chile coban and paprika onto everything :)

1.5 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon flour

2 cups cubed butternut squash

1 1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

seasoning salt, pepper to taste

What you do:

In a stock pot brown meat over medium high heat. Add beans, tomatoes, spices, and water and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let cook until most of juices are cooked down. In the mean time melt butter in a space sauce pan. Whisk in flour until lumps are gone. Add milk and bring to rolling boil stirring constantly. Add squash and cook until tender. Add cheese and stir until well blended and melted. Transfer to a blender to smooth. When pasta is cooked stir cheese sauce into pasta and serve. We topped with some avocado.

* As I was cooking I thought ditching the milk and adding a mix of cauliflower puree and chicken stock instead would be nice as we don’t normally have milk in the house. I also think you could ditch pasta altogether and use spaghetti squash instead and it would be just as lovely and even better for the spleen. If you get to it before me let me know how it turns out!