So, you’d think that a simple macaroni skillet would be easy to make, right? That’s what I thought a couple of months ago when I set out to try my first recipe from a cookbook that I love. Let’s just say that it turned out horrible and the recipe called for way more seasonings than you would ever want in one meal. It was so bad we ended up throwing it away because we couldn’t even choke it down. That was attempt #1.
I’m naturally a competitive person so I wasn’t going to give up there. I decided that I’d go on the hunt for another macaroni skillet dinner that my family would ultimately love and I found one that looked good. I made it for dinner but instead of being overpowering it just kind of tasted like tomato sauce with macaroni & hamburger in it. Even with the spices it just felt plain, like it was missing something. But at least we could eat this one for dinner 🙂 That was attempt #2.
So after searching, and searching I decided to combine 2 different recipes (you can find the links at the bottom of this post) and adjust them how I thought my family would like them…. and I’m so relieved and happy to say that this dinner turned out to be fabulous, smelled great while it was cooking and with my super secret ingredients my whole family loved it!
Southwest Skillet Ragu Ingredients:
1 lb hamburger
1 1/4 cup of elbow macaroni
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped into small pieces (ssshhhhh… don’t tell the kids it has veggies in it)
5 large crimini mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 10-oz can of Ro-tel Tomato’s w/ green chili’s
1 15 oz can of Italian Stewed Tomato’s in Oregano & Basil, chopped into smaller pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 of a block of Velveeta cheese (just enough to add a bit of creaminess = about 2 inches of the small block)
Directions: This meal took about 30 minutes from start to finish to prepare and cook
1. Boil your noodles per package directions, drain & set aside.
2. Brown your hamburger in a large skillet over medium heat. Strain to remove grease and set aside in a bowl. Return empty skillet to burner.
3. Add your chopped mushroom & zucchini to your skillet and cook over medium heat until all of the moisture has cooked off.
4. Push your veggies to the side and add your olive oil. Once hot add your onion and stir well to coat mushrooms, zucchini & onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent.
5. Add your Ro-Tel Tomato’s, Italian Stewed Tomatoes w/ juices, minced garlic, salt, Chipotle Chili Powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes and stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
6. Add your shredded cheddar & Velveeta Cheese and stir until it it all melted!
Serve and enjoy!
Shauna’s Side Notes
This dish has a little bit of a kick to it because of the Ro-Tel Tomato’s, Chipotle Chili Powder, Cumin & Red Pepper Flakes. For adults, it’s the perfect combination of ingredients but to kids, it might be a bit spicy! I’d suggest only using 1/2 of the listed ingredients in this side note and then test out the flavor and add more if you think your kids can handle it 🙂
This recipe has been adapted & tweaked from the following two websites:
Kim is a Marketing Specialist with Inspiration Media Solutions by day and Blogger by night. She's a wife, mom of three beautiful children and two fur-babies, a Goldendoodle and a rescued Pibble. For even more Inspiration Made Simple, like her on Facebook and Instagram+.
My name is Kim, founder of Inspiration Made Simple, and I'm really glad you have stopped by!
I'm a mom, wife, DIY and fitness enthusiast. I love sharing simple and affordable ideas that help make your busy life easier, including craft tutorials, printables, recipes, party ideas, and fun family activities. Learn more about Kim...
Weekly Creative Newsletter
Creative inspiration in your inbox, never miss a post!
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates including a free gift!
Manage Cookie Consent
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.
sounds really good Shauna. I will definitely add this one to my list of recipes to try. Love that it has the mushrooms and zucchini in it. Thanks for sharing. <3 Kim