Mac Attack Series | Taco Mac and Cheese

April 2, 2018 , In: Eat, Recipes , With: No Comments

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As I mentioned in last week’s Mac Attack series installment (Spinach-Artichoke Mac) today is inspired by Tuesday, TACO Tuesday!

“Everything goes better with tacos!” – A quote from Bitter Blood, by Rachel Caine

I love that quote… it’s so true! Who doesn’t love tacos?! (If you know of someone who doesn’t, you probably shouldn’t trust them!)

Alright, it is time for Taco Mac and Cheese! First of all, no, I’m not talking about mac and cheese stuffed into a taco. Though, there was a tv show in 2011 that created a “spaghetti taco”. Literally: spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce in a hard taco shell. Not really sure how that goes together but apparently kids love it! This is not that. Not even close, really!

“Mac” an appropriate nickname for spaghetti noodles too?

So back in February, there was a conversation between my BF and me about 3-ways, a Cincinnati staple, vs “Chili Mac” something I’d grown up with. See my mom makes chili mac (beans and ground beef in a tomato sauce with all the seasoning) with macaroni noodles. But the infamous Vienna Inn from my hometown makes chili mac with spaghetti, much like a 3-way. We jokingly argued about calling the spaghetti version chili “mac” since there was no mac.

In the end, the conversation got me thinking about Mac and cheese, again. I’m starting to think I may have a slight problem… I think about it way too often! But this one seemed like a good idea!

Queso, let me taco ’bout it…
*sorry, not sorry for the puns!*

Many will argue that the best topping on a taco or burrito is queso, right? Queso is cheese sauce. Mac and cheese has a cheese sauce… do you see where I’m going with this?

The addition of black beans, canned tomatoes with chilies, corn, and taco seasoning makes this dish a meal to remember.

Taco Seasoning, Roasted Corn, Tomatoes with Chilies and Black Beans come together to make this delicious taco mac.

A few notes from the kitchen

As always, use your favorite of the basic mac recipes as the base. I’m personally a fan of using the Butternut Mac. The sweetness helps balance the amount of salt in the taco seasoning to make a truly winning dish!

If you’re a meat eater, you could “beef” this up a little with your choice of taco meat. I can’t be sure, but I would guess that you’d need an extra packet of taco seasoning to season the meat before adding it to the mac mix. If you try it, I’d love to know how you did it! Leave me a note in the comments!

Next week, I’m kicking it up a notch! Things are heating up as I’m taking one of the BF’s favorite meals and turning it into a creamy and spicy Buffalo Mac and Cheese!


Mac Attack Series | Taco Mac

Mac Attack Series | Taco Mac


  • 1 Basic Mac (Butternut Mac is my personal favorite for this one)
  • 1- 15oz can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn, thawed
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, diced
  • 1- 15oz can Tomatoes with Chilies, drained
  • 2 packets Taco Seasoning
  • 2 TBSP Canola Oil
  • S&P to taste


  1. Prepare Basic Mac recipe.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and onion; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until corn starts to brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, "cheese" sauce, black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes and taco seasoning. Mix well to combine thoroughly.
  4. For baked version: Top with crushed tortilla chips, cover with foil and bake in 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the chips begin to toast.


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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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