Sheet Pan Taco Mac and Cheese

Sheet Pan Taco Mac and Cheese

I’m now qualifying recipes as pre- and post- covid19. ( All my post covid recipes are baking! God help me.) This one is pre-covid and I had imagined you’d love a sheet pan supper that combined Taco Tuesday with my-kid-only-eats-pasta night. Created and tested before the outbreak, I imagined the meal to be created as instructed or, even better, as a meal that could provide two nights worth of dinners. You’d make the beef mixture on one night for tacos (doubling it) and then take the meat leftovers and add it to mac and cheese. Now, post covid 19, it’s the perfect meal to take all day to make. Or to have your kids whip together. Or to insist someone serve it to you for Mother’s Day.

Photo by Ashley van der Laan

Sheet Pan Taco Mac and Cheese

Makes: 4 – 6 servings
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsps chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 450 g elbow noddles
  • 5 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsps all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 3 cups shaved cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute.
  • Add the ground beef. Break the beef up with a wooden spoon while cooking. Cook the ground beef fully, until browned and no longer pink.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and dried oregano and stir. Let cook another 2 minutes. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil, stir and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil an 18 x 13-inch sheet pan or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Whisk in flour and paprika until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until slightly thickened, about 4 -5 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed.
  • Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Add in the pasta and ground meat mixture and stir to coat wtih cheese sauce.
  • Spread pasta mixture into the prepared sheet pan; sprinkle with Monterey jack cheese and panko.
  • Place into oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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