Meatless Monday & Money Matters: Creamy Taco Mac

tacomac2We were grocery shopping in Meijer yesterday afternoon when Mr. Prevention comes strolling up to the cart with his arms over-flowing with foods that get the side eye from me. When I flipped over his luncheon meat turkey package to point out the sodium nitrate, he responded with, “WTF is a nitrate and why do I care?” (No exaggeration, this was said).



Can I just say, we’ve had this conversation MANY times before. But, I seized the opportunity, yet again, to educate on rates of cancer, namely colon cancer, and the fact that nitrates are 100% avoidable.

“Do you want me to get something from the deli counter instead?” he asked.

“Yes, dear, that would be a better option”, I responded calmly.

tacomac1Sometimes, it’s easier, maybe even preferred, to not have meat on the table. This vegetarian meal has been on my must-make list for far too long. Though the ingredient list is simple and wholesome through and through, the end result is fun, healthy (nearly 17 grams of fiber per serving!!!), comfort food.

We both loved this meal. My only complaint is that it didn’t reheat that well for leftovers. I did find that stirring in about a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt and/or some salsa solved this problem, however!


Creamy Taco Mac adapted from Delish via Annie’s Eats and from Cook’s Illustrated Skillet Lasagna recipe, as seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1/2 tsp salt 3 medium cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbsp ground chili powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp ground cayenne 1 lb whole wheat dry pasta, shape of choice 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes 2 1/2 cups water 2 (14-oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed 1 (7-oz) container 2% plain Greek yogurt 2 Tbsp fresh roulette cilantro, chopped 1 avocado, diced


Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion begins to brown, about responsible gambling 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, diced tomatoes general information with juices, water, and beans. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

In us poker sites a small bowl, stir about half of the simmering pasta mixture into the yogurt. Stir this tempered yogurt into the pasta. Cover and simmer over low heat until heated, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and avocado. Serve. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 447 calories; 9.9 g. fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 399 poker sites mg. sodium; 75 g. carbohydrate; 16.9 g. fiber; 18.7 g. protein

Result: A flavorful, vegetarian, inexpensive, one-pot meal that comes together in about 25 minutes from play poker online start to finish. This meal would certainly appeal to kids, as well.

Money Matters: This recipe uses low-cost ingredients like canned tomatoes ($1.60 for 28 ounces) and canned beans ($1.79 for 28 ounces). The pasta was $1.29 a box. Onions cost $0.50 each. The oil (~$0.10/tablespoon), garlic, and spices come in around $0.40 total. The Greek yogurt ($1.19 for a 7 ounce container), red bell pepper ($1.50), and avocado ($1.25) are the slot machines online most expensive, fresh ingredients. The total cost of the recipe comes to $9.72 and $1.39 per serving.


I have no plans today — thanks to the holiday, classes are cancelled and I don’t start my new job until tomorrow. :-D

P.S. I started categorizing recipes based on the number of calories. I hope this is helpful to some of you!

Be well,


  1. says

    I have that nitrate conversation with Jason all the time. There is one packaged online poker us brand (something natural, it’s in a brown box that looks cardboardy) that I try to get him to buy but if it’s not on sale, he insists of getting whatever is.

    • Nicole, RD says

      Melanie: Great question! Nitrates are a preservative that help give meat a aesthetically pleasing pink color and help prevent rancidity. Always avoid cured meats but generally speaking, many deli meats do not contain nitrates because they don’t have a very long shelf-life. Some of the packaged meats will be good come July (!?), but the meat you buy at the deli counter will likely get slimy and rancid after 3-4 days. You can always ask the person working the deli counter to ensure the meat you purchase is nitrate-free, as well. I hope that helps!

      • Melanie says

        Wow, I just didn’t know that. We don’t eat a lot of lunchmeat, but that’s reason enough to stand in line at the deli. I figured it was all the same thing and took the easy route of picking it up in the lunchmeat/hot dog/bacon aisle.

  2. says

    Looks delicious!

    I have today off, but am opting to work and take Friday off instead. Ahh the joys of having a flexible job.

    Enjoy the day and have a great first day tomorrow!! (Are you going to take “first day of work” photos, similar to the ones I am sure you Mom took of you on your first day of school?? :)

  3. Tt in nyc says

    Great recipe here! As a two decades plus vegetarian (now vegan) i often recommend to my omni parents that they dont want a completly meat free meal that just less meat is a step in the right direction- for example, my mom was making chicken noodle soup and i suggested she just use half chickpeas and half chicken, that way she got the “flavor” of the chicken but was actually eating less of it. Although they will never be meat free they are finding a middle ground to be “meat less”

  4. says

    This looks delicious! I am a huge fan of pasta….but unless it’s a very spicy or pungent sauce (like this one YAY!), I have a hard time with whole wheat pasta. I’ve heard some good things about multi grain pasta, but haven’t tried it yet…..have you?

    • Nicole, RD says

      Ann: I have, but I don’t notice a huge difference between the two. I like Barilla’s pastas the best if that helps :) Thanks for your comment!

  5. says

    This looks fantastic! I am loving meatless meals lately too, but my husband is having a harder time transitioning to them. This though, I think he’d definitely go for :) It will bring a welcome change into our regular taco nights.

  6. says

    I’m sad that this meal wasn’t the best at reheating – that is important to me – I need to find something Matt will take for lunch!

    Thanks for posting – this has been on my list to make for a few weeks now!


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