Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuesday: Taco Macaroni and Cheese with Green Beans and a Cookbook Reviewr

This is a fantastic recipe from Erin Chase's "The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook." Not only did we enjoy it the first time we ate it, but it made 2 meals for our family- plus a lunch sized portion for 2 to freeze. The recipe is extremely flavorful and more of an "adult" mac & cheese. Enjoy!

Here is what you need:

1/2 lb ground beef (pictured is 1lb, I decided to brown it all and freeze the other 1/2), Cayenne Pepper (I used Chile Powder instead), Tomato Sauce, Rotel (I used Rotel b/c I had it on hand, but a can of diced tomatoes w/ green chilies would be cheaper), ground Cumin Seed, Milk, 1/2 onion- chopped (I used Onion Powder instead), 2 garlic cloves, Elbow Macaroni, Cheddar Cheese & Cilantro

Step 1:

Brown the ground beef and add either 1/2 of a chopped onion or Onion Powder and then drain once browned.

Step 2:

While your ground beef is browning, start boiling your 16 oz. box of elbow macaroni according to the directions on the packaging.

Step 3:

After draining the ground beef, add your 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Step 4:

Chop up 1/2 tsp. of fresh cilantro. I used more because I can't get enough of Cilantro! I would also recommend saving some to add to your dish after it is cooked.

*Kitchen Tip* A great way to preserve the rest of your Cilantro is to store it upright in a glass of water in the fridge.

Step 5:
Add to your ground beef mixture: 1 (6 oz) can of tomato sauce, 1 (12 oz) can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 to 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, 1 tsp. ground cumin, and 1/4 tsp. chopped Cilantro.

Allow to Simmer for 10 minutes

Step 6:

Add the drained elbow macaroni and top with 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Step 7:

Dish up alongside some green beans, add Cilantro, Crushed Tortilla Chips or Sour Cream to the top, Serve and Enjoy!

We had so many leftovers that the next day for lunch I put the Taco Macaroni and Cheese in a glass dish, put cheese on top and baked in the oven at 350 degrees until warm. It was delish!

In "The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook", Erin breaks down the meal into cost per ingredient.

Here is what Erin had listed for the Taco Mac & Cheese Meal:

1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni ($.97) 1/4 cup of milk ($.03)
1/2 lb ground beef ($.75) 1/2 tsp chopped, fresh cilantro ($.05)
1/2 onion chopped ($.20) 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper ($.05)
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.10) 1 tsp ground cumin ($.05)
1 can (6 oz) tomato sauce ($..33) 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($.85)
1 can (12 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies ($.37)

With a grand total of: $4.12 (plus the green beans I added- $4.47)
This meal will EASILY serve a family of 4!

This cookbook is phenomenal! In her cookbook, Erin provides 200 meal ideas, broken down by cost (per ingredient) with each meal totaling up to around $5. As I was looking through the cookbook, I realized I didn't have some of the spices on hand or items needed to make the meal. In that case, the meal only cost $5, but I will end up spending more at the grocery store to initially purchase spices or items I don't have.

Most of the meals are kid friendly and are quick and easy to prepare. Erin has a lot of unique recipe ideas such as: Apple-Walnut Pork, Grilled Zucchini and Chicken Pizza and Mexican Chicken Skillet.

I was also very impressed with this book, because as an avid meal planner and frugal Mamma, Erin starts out the book with 49 pages teaching the reader how to Strategically Grocery Shop, Coupon and Meal Plan. If you know someone who is a newbie to cooking- Get them this book!

Not only should this be a staple cookbook in your household, it will make great Wedding, Birthday and Christmas gifts! Not to mention- Mother's Day just around the corner! So if you haven't hinted to your hubby for anything yet... Send him the link to this cookbook. It sells for $10.19 on Amazon, but is also available for purchase at Barnes & Nobles, Borders and many other retailers!

Check out Erin's site at : for more information!

Later in the week, I will be posting another of Erin's meals from her website: Baked Chicken Marsala.

Do any of you have this cookbook already?

If so, Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

1 comment:

joelsgirl said...

That dinner looks delicious, and I'll probably pick that book up next time I order from Amazon. I haven't been here in a while, and I love the look of your blog!