I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a ‘cheeseburger’ kick lately. Soup, macaroni, now a casserole. I just crave that meaty, cheesy combo, and for whatever reason recently I’ve been going to new, experimental lengths to get my fix. This is what evolved from a lunch for the boys on a day they were home from school that was incredibly cold, when I had pulled hamburger meat out for, you guessed it, hamburgers for lunch and then realized I had no buns or sandwich bread. It was the perfect comfort food to warm us all up and put a smile on everyone’s face. There were no leftovers.
Cheeseburger and Taters Casserole
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 can of refrigerated crescent rolls, or 1 batch of homemade crescent rolls
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese, divided
- 1 2 lb pkg tater tots, frozen
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 3-4 tbsp mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Brown ground beef until cooked through. Drain.
- Return to skillet, add in onions and saute 2-3 minutes.
- Add in ketchup, mustard, and 1 cup of cheese. Stirring until heated through. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish, or coat with non stick spray.
- Lay crescent rolls out flat to cover the bottom of the dish like a crust. Press seams together so there aren’t any gaps.
- Spread hamburger mixture evenly over the crescent rolls.
- Top evenly with tater tots.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until tater tots are done.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top of the casserole.
- Return to oven cooking 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Have you ever pulled a box of Hamburger Helper, or something similar, out of the pantry for a quick and easy meal for your family on a rushed evening? I, myself, am guilty of having done this at least a few times. Even when I’ve bought these ‘box’ meals on sale or with coupons it’s still not particularly ‘cheap’ considering I always have to add more pasta, spices, and other ingredients to spruce it up. It doesn’t even taste that good to my husband or I, although I am sure my kids would eat it any day with no complaints. I know in the past I’ve sacrificed our personal preferences, quite a few times, for efficiency, using a ‘box’ meal to get dinner served to my kids on time, but NO MORE! Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni is creamy, cheesy, and easy. Both the kids and the adults will love it. It even takes about the same amount of time to make as it’s pre-packaged competition. Ditch the ‘helping hand’ and make your own batch from scratch. My recipe feeds my family of six, with enough leftovers for my husband’s lunch the next day. The recipe can easily be cut in half to accommodate a smaller family.
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb. box of pasta, elbows or small shells work best
- 2 packets of taco seasoning
- 2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 and 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- In a dutch oven brown hamburger meat until cooked through and then drain and return meat to the pot.
- Stir in taco seasoning, tomatoes, beef broth, and macaroni.
- Heat to boiling, now reduce heat and cover. Simmer 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the beef and noodle mixture cook, melt butter in a saucepan.
- Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat, constantly whisking for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil.
- When your sauce base is smooth and thickened remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
- Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently until evenly combined.
- Remove pot from heat and let sit about 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken up and serve.