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Fideo Loco (Crazy Pasta)

Not sure what's so "loco" about this dish. To me it's just a great meal for a dreary winter day. It's another one of my mother-in-law's recipes I've recreated. It's one of those quick dishes you can whip up in a hurry, add some tortillas or bread on the side, and you've got a delicious comfort meal. You can make this a meatless dish if you observe Meatless Mondays simply by leaving out the ground beef or turkey. It's still yummy! In fact, it wasn't until I ordered it in a local cafe' that I realized it was supposed to have the meat in it! Let me know what y'all think!

Fideo Loco


1 package Fideo Vermicelli

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

½ lb. ground beef or turkey

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

½ cup chopped onions

2 teas. salt, divided

1 teas. pepper

2 Tbs cooking oil

1 cup water

1 Tbs chili powder

1 Tbs Bolner’s Fiesta Brand Pinto Bean Seasoning OR

1 Tbs chili powder, ½ teas onion powder, ½ teas cumin, 1 teas garlic powder

¼-1 teas cayenne pepper—for those of you who like it spicy. If you want Gringo Fideo, leave out this spice.

1 cup cooked beans of your choice*


  1. Brown the ground beef or turkey in a skillet. Add the 1 teas salt, pepper, onions and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer.

  2. In a different, large skillet, on medium high heat, heat oil until bubbles arise against a wooden spoon inserted in the oil. (see photo)

  3. Very carefully, add vermicelli. Stir until brown.

  4. Standing back as far as your arm can reach, SLOWLY add tomato sauce. It will probably sputter and pop. That’s why you’re standing back so far 😊

  5. Add water and spices. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until pasta is al dente or soft, or however you like your pasta. You may need to add more water; it should be soupy (see photo.)

  6. Slowly add the ground beef/turkey mixture, then the beans into the pasta. Stir, simmer until desired consistency.

*Usually pinto or black beans, but hey, whatever you fancy is fine! I actually used leftover bean soup in this batch, so if you look closely you may even see a big lima in there.Variety is the spice of life is my motto.

Browning the meat. Don't let it dry out and be sure to add salt and pepper here. To get really tender meat, add some water, just enough to cover it, and allow it to boil down.

Testing with a wooden spoon to see if the oil is hot. See the bubbles? That's how you know your oil is hot. My mother used to sprinkle water in it and she knew it was hot when it popped up. This method is much safer.

This is HEB's version of the Fideo box, but any vermicelli will do. Also, I always use the "no salt added" tomato sauce. I get to decide how much salt I want in my food! Hehe.

Browning the pasta. If some get a little burnt, that's just more flavor, baby!

See all that smoke rising up? That's why you want to be very careful when you add the tomato sauce to the pan. That oil is very snobby and doesn't like sharing with the tomato sauce. They remind me of my cats hissing at each other when one is in the other's favorite spot--usually my lap.

After adding your water and beans, this is how it will look. Taste the pasta to see if it's done to your liking.

Ready to eat! (You can tell I'm not a professional since I didn't wipe the edge of the bowl before serving.) Sigh. . .guess I'll never make it on Food Network. Add some tortillas, crackers or bread and you've got a comfy meal.

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