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No Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

Hamburger Helper. We all know it. We've likely all had it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that has given in to time and convenience to buy it and actually make it. I mean, it's cheap, easy, quick, and at the end of the day, not one of the worst things I've ever eaten.


That said, it's not one of the worst things I've ever had. That doesn't mean it's awesome. But, Rob and the kids love it. And I like it in theory - pasta. cheese. one pot. I like all of those things! But why do I feel so guilty making it?! Oh, because it's a sodium bomb that is chock full of preservatives and artificial ingredients, that's why.

I'm not going to get all sanctimommy and judge anyone that cooks for budget and convenience, I still do it a lot! But if I can try to incorporate healthier versions of some of my family's favorite "middle aisle" foods I'm going to try. Especially if it's been a trying few weeks with the kids just not wanting anything I make. (Which they are still required to eat when I know it's something they like, they just do it begrudgingly because they're "in a mood".)

This version checks off most of my list. It's good - it tastes a lot like the real deal, only better because it's real cheese! It's quick - really, it only takes maybe an extra 5 minutes because of the onion, and needing to open a few jars of spices. It's customizable -  you can use whatever seasoning and cheeses you want. Plus, if you need some leftovers for later in the week you can easily adjust ingredients a bit to make like one and a half recipes for leftovers. The only "negative" is that this is a little more expensive. Using real ingredients sometimes does cost more, but that's a trade-off I'll take when it's that minimal.


No Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1 1/4 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
12 ounces favorite small pasta shape
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
3 cups grated cheddar cheese

Directions:
Heat butter over medium-high heat until melted, in a deep skillet. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and saute about one minute until fragrant.

Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat.

Stir in: garlic powder, chili powder, salt, tomato paste and mustard.

Add pasta, chicken stock and milk, stirring until well combined. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low.

Cook about 12 minutes or until pasta is tender and most liquid is absorbed (more or less time depending on the pasta shape).

Remove from hear and stir in cheese until melted.

Source: Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

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