Monday, March 16, 2015

Quick Mexican Penne Casserole

Casseroles have my a big help this past week. As things ramp up for Spring planting and warmer weather activities, I need hearty, delicious meals that I can make quickly and will last for at least 2 meals.

More bang for my buck, right?

One item that is always well stocked in my pantry is Ro*Tel, and I am starting to believe it really does make everything better.

To create this quick Mexican Penne Casserole I let Ro*Tel help to add flavor and pizzazz to pasta and lean ground beef. Of course, topping with melted sharp cheddar and a generous handful of parsley and green onions adds a little extra color and crunch.

Truly, I started buying Ro*Tel by the case so we can throw it in our crispy burritos, casseroles, chili or soups. Yum!

More than just a can of diced tomatoes, the green chilies add a lot of flavor without adding heat. I seem to be the only one in the family who likes spicy foods, so this is my compromise.

Start your pasta boiling to aldente and preheat the oven

Then begin browning the ground beef in a deep skillet. Add in all the ingredients, reserving the cheeses, chili powder and some of the parsley and green onions. Season to taste.

Could you use cilantro? Probably. We are not a big cilantro family, so I usually go with Italian Parsely instead.

Drain the pasta and mix with the ground beef mixture.

I poured half of the pasta into my casserole dish, then topped with the crumbled Cotija cheese. Add in the remaining mixture and top with the sharp cheddar cheese. Give the top a light dusting of chili pepper for color and bake till heated through.

I served mine garnished with a nice helping of parsley and green onions.

Ready to grab the recipe?

Mexican Penne Casserole

You Will Need:

  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cans Ro*Tel 
  • 2 Tbsp. sun dried tomato pesto
  • 1/4 c. Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 c. Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
  • chili powder, for dusting
  • 4 green onions, sliced. White and green parts divided
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start a large pot of water boiling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a high-sided skillet, brown the ground beef. Add in the soup, Ro*Tel, sun dried tomato pesto, parsley and the whites of the sliced green onions. Season to taste. Warm through and set aside.

Boil the pasta just a minute short of aldente. It will finish cooking in the oven. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Pour half the mixture into a 9"x13" casserole dish. Top with the crumbled cotija cheese and then add in the remaining pasta mixture. Top this with sharp cheddar and a dusting of chili powder.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbly.

Serve garnished with the remaining chopped parsely and green onions.


Do you have a favorite meal this time of year? I would love to hear what your go-to is below.
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