|A yummy ground beef casserole that starts with a box of good ole mac and cheese. Perfect for kids, but we adults love it too!|
Ground Beef Mac and Cheese CasseroleThis ground beef casserole, made with a simple box of macaroni and cheese, is a weeknight favorite around our house. It comes together easy and bakes in no time. It's also a potluck favorite (double it) because while it's basic, it's well seasoned, flavorful and just good old fashioned comfort food. Nobody will know you started with a box of mac and cheese!
The inspiration came from Kraft, and the recipe doubles beautifully, filling an oblong baking dish to the hilt. An inexpensive dish to pull together, and though I prefer this with Kraft macaroni and cheese, look for the store brand mac and cheese in the double sized box for even better value if you are doubling. Use regular diced tomatoes or use Rotel tomatoes to kick it up a notch!
Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Ground Beef Mac and Cheese Casserole©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 1 regular boxed macaroni and cheese (like Kraft original), reserve cheese packet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup of chopped green or red bell pepper, or use a combination of both
- 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder, or to taste (can omit if using Rotel)
- 1 teaspoon of seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can regular diced tomatoes, undrained
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Shredded pepper jack, cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil for the macaroni noodles, adding a large pinch of kosher salt. Boil according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve the powdered cheese sauce package - you will be stirring that in later.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, green and red pepper and sauté until tender. Toss in garlic and sauté just a bit longer, but to avoid bitterness, do not scorch. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up as you go. Drain off any fat from meat mixture if necessary and then return it to the pan. Stir in chili powder and seasoned salt.
Add the cheese packet and diced tomatoes to the meat mixture, stir until mixed thoroughly, taste and adjust seasonings as needed; add the pasta. Spray a 9 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour meat and pasta mixture in. Sprinkle the top lightly with just enough cheese to add a bit of flavor if desired, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with a side salad and a green veggie like broccoli or green beans.
Substitute one (10 ounce) can of Rotel tomatoes, undrained plus 1 small can (8 ounce) tomato sauce for the can of diced tomatoes.
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