Last night we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner, as we do most nights around here. One thing you’ll soon learn about me is that I don’t plan too much in advance. It’s not that I can’t, it’s that I simply don’t think about it.
Looking in the fridge, we had some ground beef and not much else to work with. I dug through the pantry and found some mac and cheese and a jar of spaghetti sauce. Bam! Cheeseburger Casserole it is then.
It was really easy to make and the kids just about destroyed it. I also baked up a quick loaf of beer bread from a mix I bought at the store a while back. You, however, can serve whatever you like with your casserole. Here’s how I did it.
So, I started off with about a pound of macaroni noodles. A mixture of shells and elbows, because frankly, that’s all I had to work with. And it’s all noodles, so unless you’re trying to glue this stuff to a paper plate for Mother’s Day, I don’t see how it matters all that much. But if you insist on everything being uniform, stick with one type of noodle. I don’t care if you want to be boring.
While the macaroni was cooking, I was also browning up about 1.5lbs of lean ground beef.
To the ground beef I added some minced onions, a little garlic powder, some kosher salt and some black pepper. It’s a cheeseburger casserole after all and I wanted to make sure it tasted like the burgers I usually grill up.
As you can see, I didn’t break it up too fine. I wanted to make sure to leave big, bite size pieces of beef for the casserole. So, that’s what I did. I left big, bite size pieces for the casserole.
I mixed this up with shredded cheddar, american slices and cream cheese. Makes for a tangy, creamy Mac & Cheese base. You, of course, can make your mac and cheese any way that suits you. It’s up to you. Go crazy.
To that, you add your ground beef and your jar of spaghetti sauce.
This picture won’t win any food awards, but boy does it taste good. But you’re not done yet, right now all you have is a bowl of white trash goulash. Pour it into a greased casserole dish and cover it with more shredded cheese.
From here, all that’s left to do is to put it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and gooey. I took the casserole out of the oven and let it rest on the counter for about 15 minutes before serving. All that does is allow it a chance to set up and not ooze all over the place when dishing it up.
Then, it was sliced and served up with a huge piece of beer bread.
This is something you could make in advance, stick in the freezer and bake later in the week if you like. Just like a lasagna really. But to be honest, this didn’t take much more than a half hour to prepare, not counting the baking time. I used the baking time to enjoy a few grown up beverages before dinner.
A super easy meal, the kids loved it and I would imagine it cost less than $8 total to make. Thrifty and delicious, those are my middle names. Well, they’re not, but you get the idea. If you decide to try this out sometime, jump back on the site and let me know what you think.
Now, here’s the recipe in easy to print format:
- 1 – 1.5lbs Ground Beef
- 1lb prepared macaroni and cheese
- 1 Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- Shredded cheese
- Brown your ground beef, season it however you would season your hamburgers on the grill. Drain off the grease.
- Prepare your macaroni and cheese.
- Combine macaroni, ground beef and spaghetti sauce until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with a generous portion of shredded cheese.
- Place casserole into 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
- Loosen your belt and dig in!