Google defines comfort food like this: “Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.”
Wikipedia’s definition is similar but even more detailed: “kinds of food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, and may be characterized by its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation. The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture.”
I don’t know about you, but any kind of one-pan dish covered in cheese is definitely something that comes to mind when I think of comfort food. What I like even better is that there are ways to get that comfort food vibe without the “high caloric nature” that Wikipedia defines, and that’s exactly what this dish is.
This skillet meal is all about family friendly, warm, hearty, delicious, comforting AND healthy. It’s done in 30 minutes or less and it has been known to satisfy even the pickiest of children. Not that we would know anything about that around here 🙂
Turkey Taco Mac Skillet
- 1 – 8oz package of shell, rotini, penne, or wagon wheel shaped chickpea noodles (I love these from Banza >>> Banza Chickpea Pasta, Variety Pack (2 Penne/2 Rotini/2 Shells) – Gluten Free Healthy Pasta, High Protein, Lower Carb and Non-GMO – (Pack of 6)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey (93/7)
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 packet of gluten free taco seasoning mix – my favorite >>> McCormick Premium Taco Seasoning Mix, 24 oz
- 1 cup enchilada sauce – my favorite >>>Frontera Foods Red Chile Enchilada Sauce – Enchilada Sauce – Case of 6 – 8 oz.
- 1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 – 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes with juices
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar or mexican blend cheese (regular or dairy free)
Optional Toppings and Serving suggestions: Avocado, Sour Cream, Cilantro, Salsa, Tortilla Chips
- Boil the noodles according to package directions* and set aside.
- Over medium heat, in a 12 inch oven safe or cast iron skillet, place 2 teaspoons olive oil and let it heat for one minute.
- Add the 1 lb ground turkey to the pan, break up the meat and cook until no pink remains.
- Add to the ground turkey, 1 small diced yellow onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for one minute.
- Add 1 packet of taco seasoning and stir to mix well (do not add water called for on the packet).
- Add 1 cup enchilada sauce, 1 can of drained and rinsed beans, and 1 can of petite diced tomatoes (undrained) and simmer 3-5 minutes over medium low heat until the liquid is at the desired thickness. It should have some thickened liquid, but it shouldn’t be runny. Taste for seasoning (salt) and add more if needed – see notes. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
- Add noodles to the meat mixture and gently stir.
- Top with 3/4 cup shredded cheese (more if desired) and place skillet underneath the broiler* 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve and top with desired toppings.
Noodles: Chickpea noodles are amazing, but they behave a little differently can traditional pasta. Rinse chickpea noodles in cold water after they have boiled. The page directions should state this, but I’m reiterating it here. Likewise, do not overcook the noodles or they have a tendency to fall apart when you mix them into your taco mixture. Contrary to the photos, after making this many more times, I would recommend shells out of any other pasta shapes listed since the wagon wheel shape tends to fall apart more easily.
To melt the cheese: Alternately, on the stovetop, place a lid on the skillet and heat on low until the cheese is fully melted if you do not wish to turn on the broiler.
Enchilada sauce and Taco Seasoning: Depending on the brand of enchilada sauce and taco seasoning, your mixture may be more or less runny and more or less salty. As the recipe stands with my personal recommendations listed, I end up adding one half teaspoon of kosher salt.
Check out what’s new on the blog
Got a question?
I love seeing you try my recipes! Follow and Tag me in your creations on Instagram @lizlaughlovefood
Follow me on my Facebook Page Liz Laugh Love Food
Elizabeth Ann Willis owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for it’s original recipes, pictures, and content to be reproduced anywhere except this site without strict permission. If you loved this recipe and would like to publish it on your own website, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link back to my site as well as this specific recipe. Copying and/or pasting or taking a screen capture of full recipes or photos and posting it to personal websites or social media is strictly prohibited. This post may contain affiliate links.