In a large non-stick skillet, or dutch oven, cook the meat over medium high heat until browned, breaking up into small pieces as the meat cooks. Drain off any excess grease.
Add in the tomato sauce, salsa, taco seasoning, elbow noodles, and 1.5 cups of water, stirring to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the pasta is tender, adding up to 1 cup of water if needed. This will take about 15 minutes for the pasta to be tender.
Once the pasta is tender, turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and sour cream. Serve.
Meat: I prefer lean 90/10 ground sirloin for this recipe, but you can use any fat percentage you like--just drain off grease well. You can also use ground chicken or turkey in place of beef.
If you want to keep this pasta vegetarian, use 2-3 cups of black beans.
Taco Seasoning: 1 Tbsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, ⅛ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper.
The sour cream is optional but makes this pasta super creamy.
Feel free to use more or less cheese as desired.
Pasta: Whole wheat or regular elbow noodles. You can also use mini shell pasta or rotini pasta.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. This pasta can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Instant Pot Directions: Turn Instant Pot to saute and allow to heat up. Once the instant pot has heated, add in the meat and brown up, breaking up into small pieces. Once the meat is cooked, turn off the pressure cooker. And drain off any fat if desired. Add in 4 cups water or chicken/beef broth to Instant Pot and scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot off. Add in taco seasoning and stir to combine. Add 16 ounces elbow noodles and gently push down into the liquid to submerge. Top with salsa and tomato sauce. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (hit manual and adjust time by using +/_ buttons until the timer reads 3). Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure--be sure stand away from vent knob when releasing pressure. Stir in cheese and sour cream. Let sit for 5 minutes to warm through and serve.