Friday, March 1, 2013

Adventures in Cooking... Rachel Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake

For those of you who don't know, I am a Pinterest addict.  I Pinterest just about everything, although my favorite thing to do on Pinterest is look for new recipes (If you want to follow me on Pinterest you can do so here).  The fiance and I had been getting into a bit of a rut with cooking... we were pretty much only making tacos, eggs, lasagna, pasta, and then occasionally porkchops or baked chicken.  I decided that needed to change because let's face it, I was getting tired of all of the same meals.  Pinterest has been AMAZING when it comes to finding recipes and to trying things that we have never had before.  When I remember I am going to try to post some of my favorite recipes on the blog so that you all can share in some of the amazing foods we have started to cook!

First Up...

Rachel Ray's Southwestern Chili con Queso Pasta Bake 
(original recipe found here... I changed it around a bit to better fit our style and taste buds)

1 lb. Penne Rigate
1 1/2 lb. ground beed
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. roasted ground coriander (I think I am going to leave this out next time)
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 tsp. preminced garlic (from the jar)
2 jalapenos
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 c. milk
4c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta (Here is where I ran into a bit of trouble, I don't think I used enough salt in the water... I think I used about 1 Tbsp, so I would recommend using much more as our one complaint about this was it needed more salt.)
3. While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger.  When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeno and onions.  Finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent.  Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.  Take off the heat.
4. In a medium sauce pan (you can do this while you are browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it.  Cook for 1-2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk.  When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in approximate 2 1/2 c. of cheese and the parsley.  When the cheese has melted stir in the tomatoes.
5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back to the large pot.  Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the cheddar sauce.  Stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish (I sprayed mine with cooking spray first) and sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 c. of cheese on top.
6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese on top is lightly browned.

Cooking the pasta and the meat

I really am becoming a master chef... 3 things at once on the stove!
Finished product before putting it in the oven

Maybe master chef isn't the right description... perhaps master mess maker in the kitchen is more appropriate

Like I said before, MD and I really enjoyed this recipe and our only complaint was that we felt like it needed more salt.  I have never been much of a pasta cooker, so I'm sure I just didn't put enough salt in the water when I was cooking the pasta.  But live and learn and next time I'm sure it will be even more delicious!

Bon Appetite!


  1. I turn to Pinterest for ALL of my food adventures. The list of meals that you and your finance were cooking is almost identical to mine except yours included Pork Chops... that would be a luxury in my apartment haha. this looks like something I would TOTALLY LOVE I love pasta and I love cheese so I'm guessing this would be PERFECT for me.

  2. Mmm this looks absolutely scrumtious! I hate cooking though so that is where my dilema begins!

  3. Pasta and cheese...I'm there!!! Looks delicious!


  4. i love pinterest too!! that looks so good!!


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