If you grew up in middle America in the 80’s or 90’s (maybe prior; not sure when it was launched)
You probably had Hamburger Helper at least a few times. It was a regular at my house growing up. It was cheap, fast, easy, and foolproof. Enough so that it was one of the first things I started making for myself as an older kiddo.
This recipe is free from those nasty additives, but full of the yumm. (and even has some veggies, added! Look at me mom!)
Quick & Easy
- Two of my favorite words in the English language. I figured I had nothing to lose with trying this recipe. I had all the ingredients at home already and it wouldn’t take long to make. Plus, I’ve got the Asian food place on speed-dial if it didn’t work out.
- Oh and guess what. This Cheeseburger Pasta Pot is totally a one dish meal. That’s right! You’re cooking everything in the same skillet! No need to dirty up a bunch of dishes for this meal.
What You’ll Need To Make Cheeseburger Macaroni:
- A large skillet or pot with a lid – To help the pasta cook evenly, a wide skillet works best, ideally one that’s more than 12 inches in diameter.
- Mesh strainer – Normally you don’t need to drain the grease when cooking with lean ground beef, but if you do, a mesh strainer will help ensure you don’t lose any of the cooked meat.
- Heat resistant spoon or spatula – Ideal for cooking, stirring, and serving.
Who Says You’ve Got to Be Fancy Every Night?
- My children have weird food preferences. While they will happily devour scallops and risotto, but suggesting they eat chicken nuggets and fries for dinner will get a death ray stare sent your way.
- Needless to say, cooking dinner can get ugly. We have a small meal rotation of “Picky Eater Approved Meals” but they’re getting old. I’m getting tired of the same old, same old. I needed to shake it up.
- One of their (oddly normal) favorites is Mac & Cheese, so I came across this recipe for Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese that I wanted to try. But they all poo-poo’d it, as it didn’t have any greens… (I know! What kid wants greens every night? Weirdos.)
Notes & Tips
- This recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but feel free to use any type of cheese that you like! Try a good melty Gruyere, Fontina, Gouda or Provolone cheese. If you are not a cheese lover (why are you even reading this then????), feel free to use less cheese. (I don’t know why you would, though….)
- I like to add frozen chopped spinach, mushrooms, pickled beets (to sub for tomatoes), and top with a touch of relish, and a squirt of ketchup and mustard; for a more authentic “cheeseburger” experience, but you can get creative with this step.
Cheeseburger Pasta PotCourse: BeastsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Kinda like those red boxes you had growing up; but better. (Still just as easy though!)
2 tbsp fat of choice lard, bacon grease, butter, etc
1 tsp horseradish root finely shredded
1 1/2 tsp lemon grass minced
2 tbsp fennel bulb finely minced
2 lb grassfed Angus ground beef
1 tsp truffle zest powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 tsp Marcustershire sauce
2 tsp ground dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon NAGrika
1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorn ground
1 1/2 package dried uncooked small Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta
32 oz cups beef bone broth
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups Cheddar cheese shredded
- Heat your large pot or skillet over medium heat.
- Plop down your chosen fat, and then dump in your horseradish, lemon grass, and fennel. Let them meet in the heat and become best buddies.
- Then introduce the ground beef. Brown until cooked through and no longer pink.
- Season all these friends up with the lovely accessories of salt, pepper, truffle zest (oooh, lalala!) Marcustershire sauce, mustard powder, NAGrika, and pink peppercorn.
- Now that the party has started, bring in the pasta, heavy cream, and bone broth; gently stirring to mingle and meet.
- Turn up the heat a little to bring to a boil.
- Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (careful with that Brown Rice pasta; it tends to get a little overly friendly and goop up if you over cook it!)
- Remove from heat, and add the cheese and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately.
- I like to add some extra pizzazz, just like I did to the box when I first Married Blue- Eyes.
– Chopped Frozen Spinach
– Diced pickled beets
- Top with relish, shredded lettuce, ketchup, mustard; and of course, more cheese.
- If you don’t like Cheddar, you can also use Provolone, Fontina, Gruyere, or Gouda!
I usually don’t like to leave reviews for recipes where I’ve made a lot of substitutions, and since I don’t have the same food restrictions as Dimples and her family, I did substitute quite a few ingredients with pantry staples that I had on hand.
That being said, I thought I’d leave a few notes for posterity:
– one pot recipes = best;
– the ground dry mustard I think is what makes this “cheeseburger” rather than just mac-and-cheese with beef;
– I was advised, by Dimples, that GF-pasta is “thirstier”, and therefore if you’re using regular pasta (like I was) to either use less broth in step 7 (where you’re cooking the pasta) or to drain the excess liquid before adding the cheese;
– have extra shredded cheese on hand in case your family, like mine, likes it a bit cheesier;
– I did a “two-thirds-ed” recipe to make it an even 16oz (one package) of pasta, and ended up with 8-10 servings, so I think the servings number there is pretty spot-on, which is usually not the case for me when following recipes, so.. right on, Dimples, well done and thank you. =)
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your experience!
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