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Nov 09
106

Cheesy Taco Pasta

Oh. My. Goodness. I was pretty optimistic about this recipe to begin with but it still managed to exceed my expectations. To me, this dish is the perfect comfort food: cheesy, beefy pasta with taco flavoring and juicy salsa vegetables. It tastes like a guilty pleasure but you don’t even have to feel guilty after! If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may know that I love my cheddar cheese as sharp as possible, so I decided to go half and half with the 2% and full fat shredded cheeses to maximize the flavor while still keeping it P+ friendly. I am happy to report that it resulted in a perfectly decadent cheesy flavor. This recipe is extremely simple with virtually no prep time and I can’t say enough about how warm, cheesy, comforting and indulgent it tastes. Drop what you’re doing and make this right now! You won’t be disappointed.

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Cheesy Taco Pasta

Yield: 6 (1 rounded cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz wheat pasta (I used Barilla medium shells)
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 oz packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 ½ c chunky salsa
  • ½ c water
  • ¼ c fat free sour cream
  • ¾ c shredded 2 % reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • ¾ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, place ground beef in a large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the beef as it cooks. When the beef is cooked, drain any grease from pan. Add the taco seasoning, salsa and water and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes or until pasta is done cooking.
  3. Once pasta is done, drain pasta and add it to the beef mixture. Add the sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cheese will melt when thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Nutrition Information:
376 calories, 37 g carbs, 13 g fat, 29 g protein, 6 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)

Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

 

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106 Responses to “Cheesy Taco Pasta”

  1. #
    1
    Jenna — November 9, 2011 @ 12:17 am

    Yum! I think I’ll make this next time my DBF is in town!

  2. #
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    emilybites — November 9, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    It’s definitely DBF-friendly!

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    Anonymous — November 9, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    I make something like this and add black beans and corn to it :)

    • Anonymous replied: — March 15th, 2012 @ 3:40 am

      I definitely think I’m going to try that next time. I liked this recipe but both the hubby and I felt it was missing something, and I think some black beans and corn – and maybe some fresh cut peppers and tomatoes could do the trick!

    • emilybites replied: — March 18th, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

      Sorry you thought it was missing something. Hope you’re able to adapt it to your tastes!

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    Candice — November 9, 2011 @ 12:31 am

    this is great, I was looking for a warm pasta dish for dinner, and the timing was perfect… can’t wait for DH to get home to try it!

    • emilybites replied: — March 18th, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      So happy you liked it, Candice!

    • Anonymous replied: — October 26th, 2013 @ 5:04 am

      Beans and corn would make it way too carb-heavy. I think it’s perfect as is.

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    Blessed — November 9, 2011 @ 5:23 am

    Oh my, this looks delish! I can’t wait to try it. My kids saw the picture and said, “Mommy, can we make that NOW”. LOL! Thanks, Emily, for your wonderful recipes.

    • emilybites replied: — March 18th, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

      Hope you loved it!

  6. #
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    emilybites — November 9, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Hope you all love it! Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it. :)

  7. #
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    Anonymous — November 9, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    My mouth is watering… lol

  8. #
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    Blessed — November 10, 2011 @ 12:51 am

    Emily, did you use regular sour cream…or did you use light or fat free?

    Thanks!

  9. #
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    Anonymous — November 10, 2011 @ 2:15 am

    Very good. Also really easy and quick.

  10. #
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    emilybites — November 10, 2011 @ 3:37 am

    Fat free sour cream, sorry.

    Anonymous – glad you liked it!

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    Blessed — November 10, 2011 @ 4:24 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Blessed — November 10, 2011 @ 4:25 am

    Thanks so much, Emily. I am making this now! YUMMMMM!

  13. #
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    Katy — November 11, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    This was DELICIOUS! Perfect winter comfort food that’s easy on your waistline :)

  14. #
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    emilybites — November 11, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    Yay! Glad it was such a hit!

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    Amber — November 13, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    I saw it and instantly decided I needed to make. i don’t have the shell pasta but I have regular macaroni so I will use and it’ll be awesome still. Love and thankies.

  16. #
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    Reena the Diva — November 13, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    will be making soon. seems like something the man and i will both love.

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    Kelly — November 13, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    Emily, I love your pretty white plates. The plating is SO appetizing here. I think I’ll be making this tonight :)

  18. #
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    emilybites — November 13, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Amber – definitely! Any kind of pasta will work.

    Reena – let me know what you think!

    Kelly – thank you! That means a lot to me :). I got my dishes at Linens N’ Things before they went bankrupt and these were actually the store brand, so I don’t think they exist out there in the marketplace anymore. Let me know what you think of the pasta!

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    Erika — November 15, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    My coworker was just RAVING about this today! I can’t wait to make it myself!

  20. #
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    emilybites — November 15, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    Thanks Erika, I hope you love it too!

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    Rachel — November 15, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    Made it last night for my DBF… he RAVED about it! I had to substitute cause we’re super low on groceries: ground turkey & jabañero spices. I also use non-dairy products: soy Veggie Slices (cheese) and soy Sour Supreme. Despite all my changes, I always trust your recipes to be awesome! Thanks!!

  22. #
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    emilybites — November 15, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    Hooray! Glad you and DBF loved it and that you were able to adapt it using non-dairy products. Thanks for posting! :)

  23. #
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    AMM — November 20, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    Uh…. yum! This was wonderful! I exchanged half of the shredded cheese and the sour cream with a couple of light swiss laughing cow (cut down on the dairy – I’m intolerant – little bit is okay though so I wanted to reduce the chances of me getting sick :). I also added some tabasco for a kick. My bf LOVED LOVED LOVED it.

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    emilybites — November 20, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    Glad you were able to adapt it and that you loved it! :)

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    Dora — November 29, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    made this night for my roommate and sister. Amazing! Everything we have made has been a keeper. Thanks so much!

    • emilybites replied: — January 16th, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

      Thanks Dora, glad you liked it!

  26. #
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    Anonymous — January 16, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    I found this on Pinterest, and someone had tagged it “low calorie”. Do you have the nutritional values? thanks!

    • emilybites replied: — January 16th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

      My site was originally intended to only include Weight Watchers points but I am currently trying to go back through all of my recipes and add nutrition information. I actually had this one calculated but hadn’t posted it yet so it was easy! Nutrition info now posted above. :)

  27. #
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    Anonymous — January 17, 2012 @ 3:11 am

    thank you!!

  28. #
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    Courtney — January 19, 2012 @ 1:14 am

    Thanks for another great one! DF gave it “two thumbs up” and we’re both looking forward to some delicious leftovers for work tomorrow. I used rotini pasta because it’s what I had on hand and it turned out great.

    • emilybites replied: — January 19th, 2012 @ 1:57 am

      Yay, glad you both loved it! I always look forward to my leftovers too :)

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    Tiff — January 23, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

    Hi Emily its Tiffany lol..I forgot to rate this recipe.
    I made it for my family which included picky eater cousins haha!
    They all gobbled it up. My 2 year old cousin said “more please, yummy”.
    It was awesome :)

    • emilybites replied: — January 24th, 2012 @ 12:02 am

      Yay, thanks Tiff! So happy it was a hit with the whole fam :)

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    Jen — January 26, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    Hi there! I’m new to your blog – I lOVE it! I’ve been doing weight watchers and am always looking for tasty, ww friendly recipes! Plan on making this tonight! Question – when you say 8oz. whole wheat pasta, do you measure 8oz. cooked or uncooked? Thanks!

    • emilybites replied: — January 26th, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

      Uncooked! Thanks Jen, I hope you enjoy the pasta :)

  31. #
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    Anna — January 27, 2012 @ 3:34 am

    This was delicious! My grocery store didn’t have 95% lean ground beef, so I used ground turkey and it was super delicious!!! So meaty and cheesy!! I will definitely make again

    • emilybites replied: — January 27th, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      So happy you loved it!

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    Shannon — January 27, 2012 @ 4:40 am

    This looks great, but I’m not a sour cream fan. Can you actually taste it in this recipe?

    • emilybites replied: — January 27th, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      I don’t really like sour cream either but you can’t taste it in this recipe. It’s more there to make it creamy. If you want to sub plain greek yogurt you probably could but I really don’t think you’ll notice the sour cream!

  33. #
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    Jes @ Becoming Less of Jes — January 27, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    I made this yesterday and it is so yum!!! =)

    http://www.becominglessofjes.com/2012/01/sick-day-30-rock-and-cheesy-taco-pasta.html

    • emilybites replied: — January 27th, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

      Glad you liked it!

  34. #
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    Coley Loree — January 30, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

    YUMO! I am making it with ground turkey and it is cutting out a point! Something to think about it! WOO HOO!

    • emilybites replied: — January 31st, 2012 @ 3:20 am

      Awesome! Hope you like it :)

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    Natasha — January 31, 2012 @ 1:49 am

    This was delicious! I accidentally used too much water (apparently I should learn how to read!) but it still turned out yummy! My DH loved it too!

    • emilybites replied: — January 31st, 2012 @ 3:20 am

      Glad you both loved it!

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    bluetamarai — February 8, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it.

    Do you think it needs the full 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (and two different kinds)?

    • emilybites replied: — February 8th, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

      I wouldn’t have posted it that way unless I thought it was the best way to make it, but of course you’re welcome to adapt any recipe any way you’d like!

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    Anonymous — February 13, 2012 @ 1:52 am

    Made it this weekend and it was really good. Thanks!

    • emilybites replied: — February 13th, 2012 @ 3:42 am

      Glad you liked it!

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    CurlyCupcake — February 21, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    I made this for Sunday dinner and it was awesome! My DBF has 3 servings and took one for lunch! I can’t wait to have leftovers tonight!

    • emilybites replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

      So glad this recipe was a hit! I love leftovers :)

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    Anonymous — February 26, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    I’m brand new to WW and so glad I came across your website, can’t wait to try this meal and lots of others!

    I was just wondering though, you said ths taco pasta was 9 points plus per serving, but when I put in the nutritional info in the WW calculator it comes out 10 pp, just wondering which is more correct?

    • emilybites replied: — February 26th, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

      I get a little more in depth on my FAQ page, but basically since I use different sources to determine the Points+ (WW recipe builder) and NI (My Fitness Pal recipe builder) there are occasional discrepancies. I follow WW so I always use the P+ total from the WW recipe builder, but you are free to use whichever you trust more!

    • Anonymous replied: — September 8th, 2012 @ 7:15 am

      Also be careful when adding ingredients into recipes because fruits and veggies added to the recipe builder WILL count towards points because it simply takes the total NI.

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    daisystet — March 18, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    literally shoving this in my mouth right now…it is amazing!!! can’t wait to have it again tomorrow for lunch! i love your site…can’t wait to make more!

    • emilybites replied: — March 19th, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

      Yay, I am so happy you loved this! Glad you’re enjoying my site – let me know what else you make!

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    Steph — April 12, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

    Awesome recipe!! My husband LOVES it!! This is my new favorite blog!

    • emilybites replied: — April 17th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      Aw, thanks, Steph!! I’m so glad you and your husband love this recipe :)

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    Amelia — April 18, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    I made this for my Easter dinner while DH was away (and I’m making it right now!) and I just love it :) You’re totally right when you say it’s an indulgent comfort food–last time I made it, I needed a little extra comfort, and tonight I do too, and it totally hits the spot!

    • emilybites replied: — April 24th, 2012 @ 1:47 am

      I’m so happy this was a hit, Amelia! This is definitely my kind of cheesy, beefy comfort food. Thanks for letting me know you agree! :)

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    Anonymous — April 21, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    I have this on my list to try next week! Do you serve anything with it as a side? thanks!

    • emilybites replied: — April 24th, 2012 @ 1:48 am

      This is ooey gooey and cheesy, so a nice, light salad would make a complementary side!

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    Amanda — May 8, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    I just made this for lunch after a long week of essay writing and all nighters. It tastes like ‘study food’ (i.e. taco bell, chips, taquitos, things high in fat, sodium, calories, icky stuff) but is not something I have to feel bad about eating! I’m so excited! This is definitely going to make regular appearances. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • emilybites replied: — May 24th, 2012 @ 12:44 am

      I’m so glad this helped you get through a rough week – I hope all your hard work was worth it! Happy to hear you loved it so much. :)

    • Amanda replied: — July 22nd, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

      I just made it again and I’ve also made it for my new housemates. This is going to be one of those recipes that has already become part of my no recipe needed repertoire!

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    Meghan — May 11, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    Seriously AMAZING! I have already made this twice and my husband just loves it! (PS his favorite food is homeade tacos) We can’t get over how delish this is (and WW friendly!). I can’t wait to eat it for lunch today again! Trying the Chicken Al Fredo pizza tonight! :)

    • emilybites replied: — May 24th, 2012 @ 12:44 am

      Yay, I’m glad you and your husband both love this! Hope the pizza was good too :)

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    Melinda — May 22, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    My picky daughter and I loved this recipe! I added some olives at DDs request. Definitely been added to my list of kid approved recipes.

    • emilybites replied: — May 24th, 2012 @ 12:45 am

      Yum, I love olives. Glad to hear it was a hit!

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    Misty — June 27, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

    This one wasn’t a hit at my house….It reminded us too much of Hamburger Helper…. We couldn’t taste the cheese at all (and I followed the recipe exactly). I have yet to find a recipe that beats the meatloaf muffins! :)

    • emilybites replied: — June 28th, 2012 @ 1:00 am

      Sorry to hear you didn’t like this one! I’ve never had Hamburger Helper (is that weird? haha) so I can’t compare, but this tasted cheesy to me! Thanks for reminding me about those meatloaf muffins. I haven’t made them in forever and now I want them again ASAP!

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    Kim Good — July 3, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

    I made this tonight and it was awesome! My husband and son loved it as well and said it is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I can’t wait to try more.

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    Melanie — July 11, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    Made this tonight. Amazing! I am not a fan of regular jar salsa so I used Rotel instead. Yum!! Such a fan of your recipes!

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    Lori in NC — July 14, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    Three happy diners at our house tonight after this dinner, and we’re all looking forward to leftovers for lunch. I used only 2% cheese and it was still great. We’ll definitely have this again – it was quick, easy and delicious. Thanks!

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    Rhonda — July 15, 2012 @ 2:08 am

    this was AMAZING!!! My husband and two small girls ate it up as directed. Me? I added crushed red pepper flakes AND pickled jalapenos. HOLY CRAP, my mouth is watering AGAIN. Love love love this and it was sooooo easy to make!!! A huge hit in my house!!!

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    Lynn — August 4, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    Made this last night for picky, junk food addicted DBF and we both LOVED it! He doesn’t like to try new things and is trying to gain weight while I am a bit of a foodie and trying to lose weight so it’s so rare to find a recipe that fits both of our needs and taste buds! Thanks for making a dish that does just that! Will DEFINITELY be making it again! Ps. I added a little sriacha and cajun seasoning.

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    Amanda — August 16, 2012 @ 2:30 am

    Another great recipe! So glad I found your site, there hasn’t been one we haven’t liked yet! Slow cooker buffalo chicken Friday ( tomorrow is leftover taco pasta of course!)

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    Anonymous — August 22, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Made this last night, soo delicious! So easy! (I’m all about easy) Perfect for left overs the next day.
    Thanks so much!

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    Molly — September 5, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    The cheesy taco pasta was delicious! I will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe.

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    Becky Red — September 16, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

    Simply amazing!!

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    Sandi C — September 22, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    LOVE!! We’ve been experimenting with your recipes (neither my husband or myself are cooks) We both loved this as did our 2 year old. I used Medium Salsa and it had just the right kick!!!

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    Christina Gusman — September 27, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

    Just made this for dinner, super yummy and super easy!!!!

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    Kirsten Cisco — October 16, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    This sure was YUMMY !!! I Loved it, and plan on making it again. :)

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    sotm121097 — November 9, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    Hi Emily, this looks great! I’m wondering if you think it would be ok to omit the sour cream?

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    USMC Wife — December 16, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

    This is my go-to meal when I’m in a rush! Because there are so few ingredients, I always have them on hand. My family DEMANDS this meal at least once every 10 days or so! In a pinch, I can quickly thaw some meat, throw it all together and please everyone…and all without using up all my weekly WW points (which is what use to happen)! LOVE LOVE LOVE this meal – and every other dish I’ve tried on Emily Bites!

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    Anonymous — January 4, 2013 @ 12:10 am

    Made this tonight, it was quick and easy and best of all DELICIOUS!!! Even my picky 14 year old daughter liked it. I love so many of your recipes, they have been lifesavers since I started WW a year and 55 pounds ago!

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    Jaime — January 7, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

    Thinking of making this tonight.. I’m not opposed to beef but how do you think it’d be with ground turkey? Wondering if saving a point or two is worth the change in taste. Thanks! :)

    • Heather Wix-Aguilera replied: — February 5th, 2013 @ 1:11 am

      I made this with ground turkey and it was amazing!

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    Heather Wix-Aguilera — February 5, 2013 @ 1:14 am

    I made this for the first time tonight and it was so good!! My husband loved it too! I didn’t have hamburger on hand so I used ground turkey which didn’t seem to affect the taste! Thank you so much for all of these amazing recipes! Your blog is my go to for dinners :)

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    Anonymous — February 11, 2013 @ 12:42 am

    I made this tonight but subbed rotel tomatoes for the salsa and 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Lite Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese for the cheddar cheese. Loved it!

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    The_Book_Queen — March 14, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

    Yum–I made this recipe last night, and it was great! I’ll admit to changing a few things, adding some extras, but not so much because I thought the original would be bland or anything. Mainly I added what I had on hand, and I have to say the end results was even better than an old favorite, Hamburger Helper “Crunchy Taco” (Now I look back and say, did I really eat that a few times a month? Why?).

    I added a can of LS black beans in, to bump up the fiber. Grated carrots and some white corn. Instead of salsa, which I’m not a fan of (I don’t do heat well, plus chunky tomato problems make me gag..I’m odd that way), I used a combo of tomato paste and LS beef broth. Turned out really, really good! Top it all off with some crushed up white corn chips…I almost went back for seconds, but held back. Barely.

    Thanks for this recipe, I love finding new ones, and even if I tweak them myself, I still need that base recipe to begin with! :D

    Enjoy!
    TBQ

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    Sarah — March 19, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    I can’t wait to make this tonight for supper. Will probably try and sneak some green pepper into it just to spread it out even further. Emily, I LOVE this site. You have the best recipes….It feels like a treat but you’re not even treating yourself if you stay within your points. You’re making my WW journey VERY enjoyable. Tried the cheeseburger wraps the other day, by the way. The bf and I can eat like it’s nobody’s business but both agreed we could only handle one each haha! Keep up the great work.

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    Sarah — March 20, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    This recipe was a total hit!!! When I initially saw the amount of pasta required and that you get 6 servings out of it, I was like, yeah….let’s see about that, but honestly, I was amazed at how far it stretched. I got 6 servings and each serving is a great size. Very happy with this. And nothing weird in the recipe either! I did add an onion and a green pepper just to stretch it further. I think I may add mushrooms next time. This was amazing, Emily. Thanks again!

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    SheilaMix — March 24, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

    This was a great meal! I used medium salsa and it kicked the flavor up a bit. I thought it was not going to have enough pasta but after making it saw that it was just the right amount. Thank you for such wonderful recipes!

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    Anonymous — November 9, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    All the cheese melted right away and it wasn’t very cheesy at all. The leftovers were very bland for this reason. This is going into the ‘miss’ file for sure.

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    Elaine Pratt — January 28, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

    Hi I have just found your website and was so excited to find loads of wonderful recipes. Rushed to shop and bought the ingredients for this and we just had it for lunch. Wow it was amazing, I’m from the UK so I had never had Tacos before, this will become a family favourite I’m sure. Thank you x x x

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    Anonymous — March 3, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

    Made this last night.. It is so delicious! Can’t wait to eat leftovers today! And soooo easy to make!

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    Amanda H. — April 3, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

    My husband and I LOVE this! It’s a weeknight favorite!

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    Brittni — April 14, 2014 @ 11:31 am

    What is the serving size for this?:)

    • Emily Bites replied: — April 14th, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

      The # of servings and serving size is listed right under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post! :)

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