If you love cheeseburgers, saucy macaroni and meals made in ONE POT in just 30 minutes, you are going to love this American favourite! This Macaroni Cheeseburger Casserole is a Homemade Hamburger Helper – a tastier and much healthier version of the wildly popular American boxed pasta.
Loaded with flavour and cheesy sauce, this is guaranteed to be a hit with even the fussiest of eaters!
I burnt my mouth taste testing this straight out of the pot.
I took a small taste test to check for seasoning. Had a swoon moment, then scooped up a huge spoonful and shovelled it in my mouth.
And totally scorched the entire roof of my mouth. OUCH.
Here’s an up close and personal look at the offender. Look at it. Can you blame me for my lack of self control??
It’s insanely delicious. So, so good. I mean, it’s cheesy. Beefy. Saucy. You know that’s a winning combination. Right?
But wait, there’s MORE! It’s all made in one pot. Seriously. I’ve declared before and will continue to declare that I’m not a fan of long pastas like spaghetti cooked in one pot. But macaroni and other short pastas are perfect for one pot cooking. Actually, the starch in the pasta thickens the sauce beautifully. 🙂
Brown the beef, throw the pasta and sauce in. Simmer away and let the magic happen. Cheeseburger Casserole, coming right up. Swoon…
You might think it strange that I, being an Aussie, am sharing a homemade version of an American boxed pasta favourite like Hamburger Helper. A macaroni cheeseburger casserole is not something that Australians are familiar with. I had never made it before, but since discovering this I’ve made it 3 times. And the homeless man at the park that I regularly take hot meals to was beside himself with delight every time I showed up with yet another “Cheeseburger Mac N Cheese”, as he called it.
Nope, this is not one of my creations.
When Jo told me she was doing a cookbook, I shrieked with excitement for her. There were many, many exclamation marks and capital letters in the messaging that went back and forth about her cookbook!!
I truly was so excited because I “get” Jo’s food and her cooking philosophy. I know it sounds odd to say that, but what I mean is that we have similar tastes. Big, bold flavours. We don’t share trendy food for the sake of it. And her recipes always work. I’ve tried stacks of Jo’s recipes from her food blog and every single one has been a hit. This Cheeseburger Casserole from her cookbook is no exception.
There’s nothing more disappointing than being enticed by a pretty photo for a recipe that tastes blah. To my very core, I truly only share recipes that I think are absolutely delicious, whether they are “pretty” or not. In fact, I’m very aware that I lean towards “ugly but yummy” brown / yellowy foods – like Irish Beef Stew and Salisbury Steak. Mmmmmm….my kind of food….
Jo’s kind of food too. Deliciousness first. Prettiness second. ??
That’s why we’re friends. And that’s why I can tell you with confidence that every single recipe in her 30 Minute One Pot Meals cookbook tastes incredible, is easy to follow and will work. (I’ve only tried 5 of them so far 🙂 ).
30 minutes, start to finish.
She’s nailed it.
– Nagi x
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (brown, white, yellow)
- 1 small carrot, chopped (can skip)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped (can skip)
- 500 g/ 1 lb ground beef mince (preferably lean)
- 12 oz / 340g dried elbow macaroni pasta
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups chicken stock / broth
- 1 tbsp hot sauce or Sriracha sauce, adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp American chili powder (Note 1)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder, or sub with onion powder(Note 2)
- 800 g / 28 oz can crushed tomato
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups grated cheddar or tasty cheese (Note 3)
- More cheese to top
- 1 scallion / shallot chopped
- 1 tomato chopped
Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet over medium high heat.
Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
Increase heat to high and add beef. Cook, breaking it up as you go, until no longer pink - 3 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT cheese. Stir to combine, bring to simmer then turn down to medium so it simmers gently.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed but it is still saucy. The pasta should be just about cooked.
Stir through cheese. Adjust salt and pepper to taste (I didn't need any salt).
If you wanted melted cheese on top (like pictured), scatter extra cheese over then either put the lid on for a couple of minutes and the residual heat will melt the cheese. Or pop it undertake grill.
Remove from stove. The pasta should now be cooked - tender but firm, not mushy. And it should be slick with sauce, not dried out.
Serve, garnished with shallots and tomatoes, if using.
1. American chili powder is a combination of spices, not just chilli. This can be substituted with cayenne pepper or paprika for less spiciness. It is not a critical spice for this recipe.
2. If you don't have garlic or onion powder, saute 2 minced garlic cloves with the onion.
3. You can substitute with other cheeses that melt but be sure to use a flavoured cheese, not a mild flavoured cheese like mozzarella. The cheese is required for flavouring in this recipe.
4. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings.
Save this Macaroni Cheeseburger Casserole to your “One Pot” Pinterest Board!
And let’s be friends on Pinterest so you can see all the delicious recipes I’m pinning!
Cheeseburger Casserole nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings.
LIFE OF DOZER
For once, Dozer looking at something other than the food.
OK. I lie. His eyes were flitting between Jo’s cookbook and that pot full of saucy Cheeseburger Casserole.
OK, I’m still lying. I only got him to look at Jo’s cookbook because I’m holding a treat just out of the frame! 😉 I knew she’d like the photo because she’s a dog person too – another reason we’re friends!