One Pot Cheesy Taco Casserole

Here is another quick one pot meal for weeknights that is pretty tasty.  Hubby found this browsing on Pinterest from Mother Thyme and we decided to give it a try over the holiday break.  What I love about one pot meals is that you have your major dinner components in one dish and if you add a side salad, the meal is complete.    
The family was pleased and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal.  I guess this is a keeper.  
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce packet taco seasoning (or about 3½ tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
2 cups water
1 cup jarred mild salsa
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1½ cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
Optional toppings – chopped tomatoes, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro

Preheat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease.
Stir taco seasoning into ground beef then stir in water, salsa and pasta noodles.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with optional toppings if desired.

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