Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole

So the first thing you should know about my house is, boxed casserole dishes are expressly forbidden.  I grew up on them.  But the weird, unpronounceable ingredients in those things have made me put my foot down and say absolutely not.  No way.  However I have kids, and having kids we all know that they will taste things like boxed casserole dishes and… to my grand dismay… they love them.

Yesterday we had a late day.  The traffic was horrendous when we were picking up the kids.  There were about six lights we got held up at while emergency vehicles took over.  Construction on every street.  By the time we got home and surveyed the damage (and by damage I mean Mt. Everest laundry pile that is still only 2/3rds folded) I realized dinner was going to be a huge pain.

We had burger meat thawing but it was still rock hard, and it was technically for Saturday night.  But man did I want it.  Like no words could describe how much I wanted it.  So I came up with a compromise.  Compile a dish which would be easy, and satisfy my burger craving.

I wasn’t even going to blog this to tell you the truth.  It’s hardly gourmet.  Cheeseburger macaroni casserole?  Not a phrase I’d ever say to an actual chef.  However the moment I dished it out, I got the most amazing response.  My husband took one bite of the sauce, stared me in the face and said, “If those noodles don’t finish cooking quickly, I will kill them.  I will kill them all.”

My picky children, who I swear give the term picky a brand-new definition, all declared it was the best meal ever.  No joke.  Best meal ever.  My seven year old, the child I have to bribe and BEG to finish half a serving of dinner on most nights, had two servings.  She stuffed her tiny face and while she spent half an hour on the couch moaning about her belly ache turned to me and said, “So worth it mom.  So… so worth it.” 

I mean, if this face is anything to go by.

10563060_10203563354376805_4075170187634043134_nMy middle daughter was slightly less enthusiastic, but also declared, “If you walk away from that pan mom, don’t be surprised if the entire thing disappears…….. INTO MY BELLEH!”

mac4Why yes those ARE bananas ripening for banana bread, how did you know?

So without further ado, the recipe which will restore your child’s love for you.  Or at least make you very popular for about ten minutes.

Just a note, this recipe I made is gluten free, but you can use any noodles.  (Also I have no ingredients photos because again, not planning on blogging.  To make up for it, here’s a picture of a fat cat heavy breathing, which pretty much sums up my life.)

heavy breathingIngredients:

1lb ground turkey (though any ground meat will do)

1pkg Macaroni noodles

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/1/2 cup cheddar cheese

2 tsp salt (divided)

1 tsp oregano

1/4 cup Ketchup

2 tbsp yellow mustard

1/2 cup cheddar for topping

 

Start your pot boiling for the noodles and preheat your oven to 375F.  In a pan, begin to brown the ground meat, adding in the oregano and 1 tsp salt while browning.  This should take about seven or so minutes.  Once the meat is browned, drain most of the fat, reserving about one tablespoon in the pan.  Add in the ketchup and mustard, and toss the meat until fully combined.  Set aside.

In a pot, heat the heavy cream and cheddar.  Stir on low heat until the cream and cheese is fully combined into a rich sauce.  Add in the remaining tsp of salt and stir.  Once finished, pour the ground meat into the cheese sauce and stir until incorporated.

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This part is delicious so restrain yourselves from eating it all.  It took great effort, let me tell you.

 

Once the noodles are done to al dente texture, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  If you’re using gluten free noodles like we did, they need a good, thorough rinse to get rid of the starch.  Also if you’re using gluten-free, the noodles to use best are the rice.  Quinoa noodles tend to be very heavy which will leave you with an extremely heavy belly feeling combined with the cream and cheese.

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Once the noodles are rinsed and drained, set aside.  Lightly prep (butter) a glass pyrex or other casserole pan.  Pour noodles, add sauce on top, then give a good stir until the sauce and noodles are combined.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese, and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and slightly bubbly.

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And that’s it!

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Simple as that, and today I’m the hero mom who made the BEST DINNER EVER.  Won’t they be thrilled tonight when they see brussels sprouts on their plate.  Though they are getting burgers too so…. I’d better get SOME credit for that.  Sheesh.

Remember to check out my etsy store for delicious baked goods available in traditional and gluten-free!

Stay tuned for a recipe on Gluten-Free Chocolate Madeleines up next!