My family has been enjoying this Southwestern Casserole for years. It tastes delicious, relatively easy on the wallet and you can freeze any leftovers. Not that there will be any! In fact, this recipe will give you an extra casserole you can freeze for later. Serves 6 Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles, drained
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain macaroni; stir into beef mixture.
Preheat oven to 375°. Transfer macaroni mixture to 2 greased 2-qt. baking dishes. Top with cheese and jalapenos. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until bubbly and heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Serve one casserole. Cool the second; cover and freeze up to 3 months.
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°, 20-25 minutes.