Saturday, March 6, 2010

Southwest Skillet Supper

Think of this as a DIY Hamburger Helper - comfort food that's a lot better for you!

Note: This recipe has the option of adding some ground beef or turkey. Obviously, you'll want to leave it out if you want a vegetarian meal. I rarely use meat in it.

3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black or pinto beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 lb ground beef or turkey (optional)
1-2 tsp ground cumin
dash cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce (optional)
1/2 c. shredded cheese (mexican blend, cheddar, monterey zack, queso blanco, or some combination of these - it's up to you!)
1/2 lb small pasta - shells, elbow macaroni, etc.
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, saute onion and ground meat (if using) in olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan until onion is soft and meat is cooked through - no pink anywhere. Add garlic and cumin and continue to saute over low heat, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, and beans and simmer over medium-low heat until some of the tomato liquid has evaporated and mixture is heated through, another 3-5 minutes. You do not want the mixture to get too dry as the tomato-oil-spice mixture is going to be the sauce for the pasta. Once it is heated through, take your cooked, drained pasta and add it to the tomato-bean mixture, stirring to coat. Add your cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce at this point and stir to mix in. Then, turn your heat to low, sprinkle with your shredded cheese (I use about 1/2 c. but you can easily add more cheese if you like lots!), and put a lid on top of the pan for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

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