Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enchilada Pasta

I've been slightly obsessed with reading one of my favorite food blogs: Iowa Girl Eats. "Obsessed" might be over doing it. Maybe I should just say I look forward to reading it every day, and always make a point to find it at the end of the day or early the next day.

Anyhoo, I came across this post of hers from the other day about an Enchilada Pasta, and I was immediately drawn to a recipe with Mexican flavors that also feature pasta. Score!

The dish was really pretty good, and it was nice to have everything -- protein, a starch, dairy and veggies -- all right in one dish. If I did it again, I might had some black beans to the mix. All in all, it was really good, although it kind of reminded me of a fancier -- or slightly more complicated -- Hamburger Helper-type meal.

Nate and I worked on this meal together, which meant we kind of made up some parts as we went along -- which included both putting varying amounts of spice in the dish, making it a super spicy meal. Good, but spicy! He may have wiped his brow a few times throughout the meal.  

From the start, I decided to change a few things about the recipe. We used ground beef instead of chicken, mostly because we had some in the freezer we needed to use up. Also, we're not sour cream fans, so I subbed plain Greek yogurt, which we always have, for the sour cream. 

Here's what we did for our Beefy Enchilada Pasta:
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • a pinch of two of habanero powder
  • 1 Tbs.-ish olive oil 
  • 2 small red onions, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. can red enchilada sauce (I used medium spice level)
  • A couple (OK, maybe 10) shakes Cholula sauce) 
  • 4-oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1/2-ish teas. chili powder
  • 1 teas. cumin
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 8.5 oz medium sized pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
  • Toppings: chopped avocado, tomatoes, green onions and/or sour cream, if desired
Brown beef and onions, mix in habanero powder and any other spices you'd like.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

In large skillet, add enchilada sauce, Cholula, green chilies, salt, chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Add Greek yogurt, cheese and beef to skillet. Mix to combine, warming the skillet if necessary for the cheese to melt.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and mix pasta into cheese, beef and veggie mixtures. 

Serve garnished with avocado and tomatoes (and green onions and/or sour cream, if desired).

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