Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Servings: 6-8
1 lb. pasta (macaroni elbows or rotini)
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tbsp. McCormick taco seasoning
2 cans Juanita's Nacho Cheese Sauce, medium heat (15 oz.)
1 cup half & half
16 oz. shredded cheese
1 medium tomato, diced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 large, chopped green onions
2 tbsp. diced jalapeños (canned or fresh)
6 corn tortillas
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
Using a large knife or pizza cutter, slice the tortillas into 1/2 " wide by 2" long strips. Heat the oil on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Fry the tortilla strips in batches, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish that's lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out of the oil. Set aside until ready to use.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, boil for about 7 minutes until al dente, drain and set aside.
Heat a large skillet to high heat. Add the ground beef and season with the taco seasoning. Cook on high heat for 7-10 minutes, breaking it up as it browns and cooks through. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan, add the nacho cheese sauce, half & half and shredded cheese. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is smooth, creamy and gooey.
Add the pasta to a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the cheese sauce and the cooked ground beef until combined.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and top with chopped tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, diced jalapeños and crispy tortilla strips. Serve immediately.