Rachael Ray’s Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake

Friday last week was leg day at the gym, and I did a lot of squats and straight-leg deadlifts, which I haven’t done in awhile. Needless to say, I woke up the next morning SO sore– but I had already committed to running 6 miles on Saturday, so I did. Let me just tell you, on Sunday, I could barely walk. My husband just laughed at me as I went grocery shopping and hobbled down the isles, ever so slowly. It was terrible! But I felt so accomplished 🙂
After all the pain, a hearty delicious pasta dish was exactly what I needed! This recipe is so good, and I’ll be enjoying the leftovers for lunch all week 🙂
Serves: 4-5

1 lb penne

1 lb ground beef

1 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsps. minced garlic

Pickled Jalepenos, a couple slices

1 tbsps. butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

3 cups cheddar cheese

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 14 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

How to:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, make sure you have a rack close to the top of your oven.

{The next 3 steps can/should be done almost simultaneously- it’s not hard to do, don’t worry}

Cook the pasta per box instructions, don’t forget to salt the water.

While your water is boiling, start browning your beef over medium-high heat. When the beef is almost finished (there should still be some pink), add in the garlic and jalepenos and finish browning the beef. Drain the grease and then add in the cumin, chili powder & tomatoes– sauté for a minute or two (until the tomatoes are warm and combined), then remove from heat.

Also at the same time as the last two steps, in a small/medium sauce pot, melt your butter, and then add in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in your milk, and when it starts to bulbble, stir in the parsley & 2 1/2 cups of the cheese.

When everything is done, pasta is drained, cheese is melted, etc. put it all in the large stockpot you cooked your pasta in and mix it all together– then transfer the contents to a greased 9 x13 pan, sprinkle the last 1/2 cup cheese on top and stick it in your oven (close to the top) just to melt the cheese and lightly brown the noodles.

Take it out and enjoy!

We chose to pop a squat on the couch and enjoy it with a good movie on the chilly Sunday night, while watching our cat-o-lantern flicker outside– picture below

Adapted from: Sarah


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