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.

mac2

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.

mac

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.

mac3

And that’s it!

mac5

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!

Advertisements

Traditional French Madeleines

Here’s the thing about these little treats– they are my all-time favorite.  And by all time I mean literally all time.  There’s something about the spongy, zesty, sweet cakes being dipped into a hot coffee or tea that just… it brings me to my happy place.

And let me tell you something else about these sumbitches… they’re hard.  The preparation is a pain in the butt, the flavor is fickle, and the batter is so delicate one wrong move will cause it to fall and the whole thing turns into bitter failure.  They also require a pan which you literally can’t use for anything other than madeleines.  Except maybe a chocolate mold if for some reason you want some weird sort of sea shell shaped chocolates?  Hey it could work, right?

Either way, buying the pan for me was worth it.  Modifying the recipes I’ve been playing with was too.  If you can make it work though, trust me, you’ll want to treat yourself to something nice and snazzy as a reward.

So here we go.

mads1

Ingredients-

1- large egg and 2 egg yolks (this can also be substituted as two large eggs) all room temp

6- tbsp butter (melted and then brought to room temp, but still liquid)

1- tsp vanilla

1/3- cup granulated sugar

1/2- cup cake flour (this is important)

3- tbsp lemon zest (depending on your desire for lemony flavor.  I used the zest of three lemons for this batch)

 

For this recipe we will not be preheating our oven.  The dough must chill at least 2 hours before baking, so keep that on hold.

Start by putting your eggs and/or yolks into a mixing bowl and add in the sugar.  With your stand or hand mixer, use the whisk attachment and set to medium. 

mads2

Whisk for five to seven minutes, or until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage.  The ribbon stage is basically when you lift the whisk (while it’s off– yes I made this mistake– more than once.  I know, I am ashamed) out of the batter and it slowly drizzles down in a sort of ribbon pattern.  There are some fantastic youtube videos if you need clarification on what exactly the ribbon stage is going to look like.  Also if you’re using a hand mixer be prepared for epic muscle aches.  Seven minutes is a long, LONG time.

mads3

Next you’re going to add the lemon zest to the butter and give a good stir.  Let it sit for a good minute or so.  The next step can be done one of two ways. 

Option one you can add the vanilla to the butter and lemon, and add that to the egg mixture and slowly fold in with a rubber spatula.  Then you add in the flour folding in about two tbsp at a time until fully incorporated.  Doing this prevents the egg mixture from falling because you want to keep it light and airy.

Or, option two (which is what I prefer) you add the flour into the butter and lemon mixture and stir until fully combined.  Add the vanilla to the egg mixture and fold in with the rubber spatula.  Using a hand whisk (not the mixer) gently whisk together the eggs and flour-butter until combined into a light dough.  This method will give you slightly denser cakes.  Be very careful you don’t over-whisk and cause the dough to fall completely.

Next prep your madeleine pan with a little bit of butter and flour (shaking off excess flour into the sink).

mads4

Fill your madeleine molds almost completely full, leaving just a slight bit of room at the top.  Make sure you clean up any excess that spills on the side because it won’t have a pleasing smell in the oven when it starts crisping.  (And yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

mads5

Place the pan into the fridge and let set at least two hours, preferably three.  You can even cover and let set overnight, or up to two days if necessary.  Once the dough has been chilled, set on the counter, preheat your oven to 375F.  Place pan in the oven once preheated and cook for about 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.  I usually check about a minute early, and pat the tops.  If they spring back, the cakes are done.  If they depress, they need another minute or two.

Remove from oven and remove from pan and set on a cooling rack.  When cookies reach room temperature, sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar and serve.

10592912_10203541556351868_8927139414006462_n

These cookies keep fairly well if you keep them in an airtight container.  They last about a week and a half, and even longer if frozen.  Enjoyed best with a hot beverage for dunking.

If you don’t want to take on this task, feel free to place an order with my etsy shop and have some shipped out asap.