Taco (sans shell) Pasta

Forgive me, this is a mostly cell phone camera post.  I promise, the food is tastier than the images let on.  This was an experiment, plus Eric had the nice camera at school on Monday and Tuesday while I was home with sick Greta.  He was helping me out with snapping a few yearbook photos – it is that time of year when yearbook advisers’ heads are swimming with lengthy to-do lists, hunting down no-name faces, and trying to write last minute captions.  Normally, the kids would be doing all this, but for some reason, this year has been rough and very few yearbook staff members have been at meetings.  
Since Greta was home sick, I whipped up an interesting pasta dish during her numerous naps.  This is one you can prepare in advance and serve either warm or cold.  I heated it up in the oven later on in the evening.  I started with This lovely pasta – pipe rigate.  It holds sauce and other toppings very well in its openings.  
While the pasta boiled, I whipped up an easy sauce using pantry and freezer staple items.
I stuck with tomatoes, beans, and corn for the vegetables in this pasta dish. I wanted a Mexican spin on a baked pasta dish.  It just sounded satisfying (& easy) to this mama who heard, “No!” and “Mine!” all. day. long. in that pitiful sick voice.  

I added three of my favorite spices – cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.  Though, in hindsight, I would have doubled the spices.  But, at least this way, Greta may eat some of it when she is healthy again.  Does anyone else’s kid seem to live off of air when he/she is sick?

I added lime juice for a little more kick.  An acid, added to your food toward the end of cooking, will add more flavor to your dish.  If I can’t be in Key West, I will bring Key West to my kitchen.  
Combine pasta, beans, corn, and sauce together in a large oven-proof dish.  Refrigerate or bake, depending on your preference and time frame.  I love dishes like these – enough to feed an army and easy-breezy.  I plan on freezing the extras and using them like microwave meals when the yearbook crunch really starts to hurt next week. 
Add toppings of your choice, such as cheese (real or fake), sour cream, or avocado.  

This dish was the best of all my worlds – spicy, filling, bright & fresh flavors, daily vegetable dose, and all done up in a baked casserole dish.

With all the nice weather this weekend, I used my time to work on the house’s curb appeal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love HGTV and all its shows, but it makes you paranoid if you are trying to sell a house.  Buyers expect so much more primping, organizing, cleaning, and curb appeal due to this one channel.  It is enough to make one crazy!

Anyway, I got out the green spray paint and went to town on a couple plant stands I have on my deck and front step.  The results were pretty decent.

As Eric said, “They went from trash to maybe worthy of moving.”  Spoken like the de-cluttering, less-is-more man that he is.




Taco (sans shell) Pasta

1. Saute ½ an onion in oil until soft.  Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and saute 2 to 3 more minutes.  Meanwhile, boil large pot of water to cook pasta of your choice.  Follow pasta directions on package.

2. Add 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can diced tomatoes1 can tomato sauce, 5 oz. frozen corn, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ⅓ cup lime juice.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to low heat to simmer while pasta cooks.  When pasta finishes cooking, add ½ cup pasta water to the sauce mixture.  Simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes on low heat.

3. Drain pasta and place in oven-proof bowl, if baking like a casserole.  If planning on pasta salad, place pasta in large bowl.  Add sauce mixture, stir well.  Top with cheese, if desired.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, or refrigerate for pasta salad.  Add any other desired toppings.

Goodness, I need one of these:

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