This is one of those recipes where I wanted something simple to throw in the crock pot. I hadn't been grocery shopping for a bit, so I checked the freezer and pantry to see what I could concoct from what we had on hand.
Brown ground beef, chopped onion, and garlic in a skillet.
When meat is fully cooked add taco seasoning packets and mix until the meat is evenly covered. It's okay if the onions aren't cooked all the way through, they will continue to cook in the crock pot (You can adjust the amount of taco seasoning to personal taste, but I wanted a strong flavor since I was adding pasta to the dish.)
In your crock pot combine meat mixture with tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, beans, half of the cheese, and water. Do not add the pasta unless you are going to be cooking it right away. I prepare mine the night before and set it in the refrigerator. I then add the pasta when I turn it on in the morning. If you let the pasta sit overnight in the mixture then cook it the next day your pasta will swell up and become mushy. Just be sure when you add the pasta that the mixture has enough moisture to hydrate your pasta without drying out the casserole.
Set crock pot to low and let it cook about 8-9 hours. I let mine cook while I'm away at work. If you are home and can keep an eye on it, it might not take as long to cook. Cooking time will also vary based on the crock pot you are using. I have 3 different ones and each cooks a little differently.
About 10-15 minutes before serving add the additional cheese to the top of the casserole, cover, and allow cheese to melt.
Serving options: This could be served with a green salad and corn bread. Garnish as you desire with sour cream, black olives, salsa, and jalapenos.