Simple Macaroni and Beef with Cheese – basically, homemade Hamburger Helper.

I stole this recipe from my sister, who stole it from Pinterest, who stole it from Ruhlman.com. Follow me? My sister made it, said it was good, so of course I have to copy her. I usually let her be the guinea pig.

I made my husband (the chef in the house) make it. I didn’t do anything but buy the ingredients and print out the recipe. Life is tough. Today, I’ve been ruling the house from my bed, because I can. It’s my day off, and I’m thinking about demanding a re-do, because I sure do like quiet on my days off and I haven’t gotten that today. My husband is full of coughs and mucus and obnoxious noises, so I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth on my precious day off. This is why we both prefer to have separate days off from work. Sad, but true.

He made some changes (as always) and also made a shortcut. I’ll type out the original version first and then add his notes. Kids will like this. I liked it, but next time we’ll he’ll add more spices.

Simple Macaroni and Beef with Cheese

1 large onion, diced (he used half)

1 Tbsp. canola oil

Salt to taste

Optional seasonings: black pepper, oregano, cumin, coriander, chopped garlic, hot smoked paprika, chili powder – whatever you’re in the mood for.

28 oz. can whole tomatoes, pureed in the can with a hand blender or in a blender (why couldn’t you just buy diced? I don’t know. Next time.)

2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 box elbow macaroni

1 cup each grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses

Sweat the onions in the oil with a three-fingered pinch of salt. Add the beef and cook it, breaking it up as you do. Add another three-fingered pinch of salt or two, along with any dry seasonings you want. Add the tomatoes and any fresh seasonings you may be using, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for an hour.

Cook the macaroni in boiling water until it is half done. Drain it and add it to the tomatoes. (We used the whole box). Stir it into the sauce. Season to taste. Cover. When it is cooled and the pasta has absorbed the tomato juices, transfer it to a large baking dish (13×9) and cover it with foil. It can sit out for several hours like this, be refrigerated up to two days, or frozen for a few weeks.

Bake it in a 400 degree oven until it’s piping hot (about 45 minutes if it is cold to room temperature). Just before you’re ready to eat, remove the foil, cover macaroni with cheese and broil till it looks beautiful (as beautiful as meat and cheese and pasta can be, I suppose).
Kevin’s notes:

I didn’t add oil.

Just sweat onions, add beef and a lot of salt. Brown, drain, and add pureed tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes, add garlic powder. Simmer more while boiling noodles, drain noodles, and add to beef. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add bags of cheese on top of mixture in 13×9, broil for 7 minutes.

See, we were out of foil tonight and neither one of us wanted to go to the store for it. Adapt, people, adapt. Broiling saves the day.

It was really good comfort food, which is what I needed tonight because of the noise factor in my house. I hate sickness, especially other people’s sicknesses. Especially when it’s loud and disgusting.

🙂

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