This has got to be my favorite recipe mash-up ever. You can ask anyone who knows me just how much I love Cheeseburgers. I could eat them every day of my life (unfortunately, I don’t). Avu has the same relationship with Mac and Cheese. So the other night, when we were craving both (and arguing over which one to have for dinner)… I came up with the most beautiful and delicious compromise.
Cheeseburger mac. All the beefy goodness of a juicy, savory burger, and all the creamy, cheese comfort of macaroni. Plus it’s a super easy, one pot dish that’s ready in half an hour. What more could anyone want right now (besides going out)?! The real secret to this recipe is the mustard and tomato paste…creating that perfectly subtle sweet and sour note that really makes you think you’re eating a cheeseburger if you close your eyes. This pasta is as hearty as they come… but you can definitely lighten it up with low-fat versions of the daily products and using extra lean ground beef.
One thing to make sure of…this pasta needs to be stirred a lot when it’s cooking. Otherwise, you risk some of the noodles sinking to the bottom and burning on the bottom….take it from me, I’ve ruined this dish in the past by stepping away for too long. Keep your eye on it, and I promise it will be beyond worth it.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 cube beef bouillon
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 package/box elbow macaroni noodles
- 2 cups cheddar jack cheese freshly grated
- Add ground beef and cooking oil to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and use a wooden spoon to break apart.
- When the beef is mostly browned, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, and the beef is totally cooked through (about 5 minutes).
- Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, along with the oregano, beef bouillon cube, tomato paste, yellow mustard, Worcestershire and cornstarch. Stir to combine and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, milk and macaroni noodles and stir to combine well.
- Reduce heat to medium, cover pot and cook for about 20 minutes until the noodles are totally cooked through. MAKE SURE YOU STIR OFTEN THROUGHOUT — to ensure the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
- Reduce heat to low, and stir in half & half and grated cheese. Stir continuously until all the cheese is melted and the noddles have soaked up more of the liquid.
- Serve immediately!