Sometimes the simplest recipes are the most favorite. Sometimes having a prior chef as a mom isn’t all that glamorous. I mean, what teenager wants to eat Bacon Wrapped Crab Cake Stuffed Shrimp with a Creamy Pesto Sauce, or Balsamic Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese and Truffle Oil, or my Sweet and Spicy Salmon Fish Tacos. It is funny how the simplest meal can sometimes get wolfed down much more heartily than the well thought out, ingredient packed, intensely labored-over dishes! Yes. I’ll get over it.
My kids actually do like these recipes and have a fairly wide range of tastes. But let’s face it, they’re eating me out of house and home, and sometimes I need a budget friendly recipe that I can stretch so that these buzzards get their bellies full! That’s where my Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni comes in. You can always add more meat to yours, but if you need to stretch the amount of meat you have on hand into a hearty meal, then this is the recipe for you.
My husband lovingly refers to it as Homemade Hamburger Helper, and I take no offense, of course. *Cough! (How can he EVEN compare or say such a thing!)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup water
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- In a medium pot, cook macaroni according to package instructions; reserve 2 cups of cooking water before draining.
- In a large skillet, brown hamburger meat over medium-high heat until there is no more pink remaining; drain off excess grease.
- Return pan to burner and deglaze with ½ cup water, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits off of the bottom.
- Lower heat to medium and stir in cream cheese and evaporated milk.
- Gently whisk meat mixture over medium heat until all of the cream cheese is melted and incorporated.
- Stir in cooked macaroni.
- Use some of the cooking water, a little at a time, to thin and spread the sauce, if needed.
- When you have the desired consistency in your sauce, remove from heat and gently stir in grated sharp cheddar cheese, one handful at a time, stirring between additions.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm.