Working for the Weekend


If you read my post from yesterday you can tell that I was motivated and ready to start the week out right!  You can conclude from the next recipe that I am already craving a delicious, cheesy, pasta filled casserole…… but I will continue to be good so I can enjoy this casserole this weekend and I will not feel one bit guilty about it!  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had to Pin It because the author is none other than my gal pal Rachael Ray.  I looked high and low to find the exact link to her recipe, but sadly she has not released this gem to the interweb.  You can find this adapted version  and an inspiring weight loss journey on Living Light’s blog. I am going to continue to work hard for the weekend……. and did I mention a Margarita would go great with this too!

* The original recipe can be found in Rachel Ray”s book “365: No Repeats”



Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake 

  • 1 lb penne rigate
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (substitute ground sirloin, turkey, or chicken breast for healthier option)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp roasted ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalepeño, diced
  • 1-2 cups corn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 lb cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes



Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.



Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked–a little chewy at the center.



While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger (or meat of choice). When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, (corn) and onions and 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 or turn heat down low.



In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you’re browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon. When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.



Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot. Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.




This time of the year we are greatly blessed with family friends who have had a GREAT year with their corn crops.  We have so much corn at home that I am literally trying to throw it in every dish I cook.  I feel like this would be a perfect fit so if you have it add it and if you don’t then do not stress = )


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