Remember Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni? I know that stuff has got to be awful for you….but it’s pretty darn good.
My favorite thing that my mom makes is macaroni and beef. It’s super easy: cooked macaroni tossed with browned beef, onions, and canned tomatoes. I was making this one night and thinking how much better it would be with a cheese sauce like macaroni and cheese, but beefy and with tomatoes. I did some google searches and found some good ones (like this one from kevinandamanda.com with drool-worthy photos), but I’ve finally nailed it down to something like this:
- 1 lb ground beef (I use bison because it’s what I have in the freezer)
- 1/4 c taco seasoning (I buy this stuff in bulk at Costco for about $3 vs. $1.25/packet at the grocery store)
- 1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 T ketchup (if you have it…who doesn’t have ketchup?)
- 1 T yellow mustard (again, if you have it)
- 2 T pickle relish (optional)
- 1 empty tomato can filled with water 🙂
- 1 c elbow macaroni (I used what was left of a bag of brown rice rotini pasta)
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 2 T flour
- 3/4 c milk
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese (I used “fancy mexican blend”…whatever that means)
- Over med-hi heat, brown the beef and add the taco seasoning, followed by ketchup/mustard/relish. Let the ketchup caramelize about a minute, then add the canned tomatoes, water, macaroni. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to med-lo and let simmer about 12 mins, or until pasta is done.
- While pasta simmers, make a blonde roux with the butter and flour over med. heat (about 3 mins, whisking frequently). Slowly whisk in the milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens (this is a bechamel). Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, then add salt and pepper, if desired.
- Once the pasta is done, stir in the cheese sauce and serve with a salad.