Creamy Taco Hamburger Helper
Creamy Taco Hamburger Helper – A delicious and easy meal that’s perfect for busy weeknight dinners! This recipe features ziti noodles tossed with seasoned ground beef, creamy salsa-infused sauce, and melted cheese.
While it isn’t the prettiest pasta dinner out there, Creamy Taco Hamburger Helper is flavorful and delicious. To be fair, this is a hamburger helper style recipe, so let’s be reasonable on our expectations of attractiveness. 😅
This tasty dinner comes together quickly and easily, entirely on the stove top. This saves time and money by not worrying about finishing it off in the oven. With this recipe, there is no need for that. Just plate up a dish, perhaps with a side green salad, and you are set!
- ziti noodles
- ground beef
- onion, diced
- bell pepper, diced
- minced garlic
- taco seasoning
- cream cheese
- shredded taco blend cheese
- Optional: reserved starchy water (1/2 cup) to thin sauce if desired.
- Boil ziti noodles and reserve 1/2 cup starchy water.
- Cook and drain ground beef.
- Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
- Add beef, taco seasoning, salsa, cream cheese, and half of shredded cheese to pan.
- Stir until melted, then add cooked noodles.
- Optionally, add starchy water to thin sauce.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover to melt.
Tips & Notes
- Reserve Starchy Water: This can be used to thin out the sauce towards the end of cooking.
- Soften Cream Cheese: This is optional but it does help it to melt easier & faster.
- Pre-shredded Cheese: If using pre-shredded cheese, rinse it briefly under water and pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess starch. This will help the cheese melt better and prevent it from clumping.
- Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the amount of taco seasoning to your preference for spices. Add spicy add-ins, such as jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes for more spice.
- Toppings: Garnish with your favorite toppings, such as chopped cilantro, diced avocado and tomatoes.
- More Veggies! Add more vegetables such as diced tomatoes, corn, rinsed black beans, or zucchini. Sauté the additional veggies along with the onion, bell pepper and garlic.
- Swap for a leaner protein – Instead of ground beef, you can use ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option.
- Extra cheesy – Add in additional shredded cheeses, cubes of Velveeta cheese or a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup.
- More spice! Crank up the heat by adding diced jalapenos, crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce.
- Make it prettier – Adding freshly chopped herbs, such as cilantro, parsley or green onions as a garnish immediately before serving will add a pop of color. (I would’ve but wasn’t able to pop to the store for this one.)
Creamy Taco Hamburger Helper
Creamy Taco Hamburger Helper – A delicious and easy meal that's perfect for busy weeknight dinners! This recipe features ziti noodles tossed with seasoned ground beef, creamy salsa-infused sauce, and melted cheese.
- Deep Skillet or Dutch oven style pan
- 16 oz noodles such as ziti
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 large bell pepper diced, any color
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 oz taco seasoning about 2 tbsp
- 8 oz cream cheese softened or cold
- 1 cup shredded taco blend cheese
- Cook noodles according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup of starchy water.
- In a large pan, cook and crumble ground beef. Drain excess fat.
- Add diced onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to the pan. Sauté until onions are translucent.
- Stir in salsa, taco seasoning, cream cheese, and half of the shredded cheese until cream cheese is melted.
- Add cooked noodles to the pan and stir to combine. If desired, use reserved starchy water to thin out the sauce.
- Top with remaining shredded cheese and cover until melted.
Adapted from The Diary of of a Real Housewife
Serving: 1servingCalories: 491kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 24gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 729mgPotassium: 516mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1379IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 173mgIron: 2mg
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Looking for more ground beef dinner recipes?
- Calico Beans with Bacon – So, so delicious when served with Cornbread Supreme!
- Old Fashioned Goulash with Cheddar Cheese – Filling, comforting and extra tasty when topped with freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- Szechuan Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce – Warm noodles are coated with a spicy beef and onion sauce.