Cheeseburger Pasta

There's nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That's what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.By contributing writer Beth

There’s nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That’s what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.

This recipe was inspired by my family’s love for macaroni and cheese. Yes, sometimes we make it from those blue boxes, but mostly I make it from scratch. Adding ground beef takes it from a side dish to a main dish.

You can add more garlic, ground mustard, or even toss in a tiny touch of horseradish to the cheese sauce to make it have a little more complex flavor.

It’s so much fun to put out the condiments on the table when I serve dinner. You can put out:

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Barbeque Sauce
  • Thousand Island Dressing
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Hot Sauce
  • and even MORE Cheese!

Throw on anything that you’d put on a cheeseburger.

This dish can be thrown together in a flash. Make the most of your time by putting on the water to boil first. Then start browning your ground beef. This overlap in cooking will shave off minutes from your meal prep time. I can get this meal on the table in less than half an hour.

Note: I recommend a sharp cheddar cheese for the shredded cheese in the sauce. For our test version, we tried a three cheese blend that included cream cheese shreds. It was delicious and creamy and perfectly smooth!

There's nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That's what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.

Cheeseburger Pasta
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 8
 
Macaroni and cheese with a delicious twist! Your kids will adore this fast and easy meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (sharp recommended)
  • 12 ounces pasta, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is being prepared, brown the ground beef along with the onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. When the beef is completely cooked do not drain the grease. Stir in the flour to coat the beef. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a low simmer over medium low heat. Do not boil.
  5. When the milk mixture is beginning to bubble gently, stir in the cheese. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat.
  6. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and place back into the pot it cooked in.
  7. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and serve with mustard and ketchup drizzle and chopped tomatoes.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

10 Must-Have Items for Freezer Cooking Success

Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save time and money on your grocery bill. You'll want to stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.

Do you fix freezer meals for your family? Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save both time and money on your grocery bill each month. It keeps you from eating out less, it saves you from making too many impulse purchases, and it helps you to feed your family nutritious meals without stressing about what you’re having for dinner.

If you’re new to freezer cooking, you might be wondering what you need to do to get started. Take a deep breath, because learning the basics of freezer cooking really isn’t as hard as it may seem. The first thing you’ll need to do is stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.

1. Freezer Cooking Planner

Freezer cooking is a huge undertaking, and if you jump right in without a plan, you’re very likely going to end up with wasted food. With so many free printable freezer cooking planners available on the web, you can jump in with a well thought out plan. Planning right means that you’ll be successful in your freezer cooking attempts from the very first time.

2. Freezer Cooking Recipes

Contrary to popular belief, not every recipe is able to be frozen. Make sure that when you pick the recipes you’ll be making for dinner that you are paying attention. For some, you’ll be able to freeze the entire thing after cooking. For others, you may need to add ingredients to a bag and freeze those together with cooking instructions only.

6 Easy Freezer Meals

We have a few freezer cooking recipes and resources here:

3. Slow Cooker

If you don’t already have a slow cooker, pick one up before you begin freezer cooking. Having at least one slow cooker makes cooking meat and other ingredients in bulk a snap.

4. Ziploc Bags

Freezer meals that contain pasta and other firm ingredients freeze incredibly well in freezer bags. You’ll want to pick up a few boxes in both the quart and gallon sizes so that you are able to freeze smaller and larger portions.

Freezer cooking is one of the best ways to save time and money on your grocery bill. You'll want to stock your kitchen with these 10 must-have items for freezer cooking success.

5. Hands-Free Freezer Bag Holders

They might look funny, but these freezer bag holders will make your freezer cooking journey so much easier. They stand up and hold your freezer bags open and upright so that there is no fighting to keep them open.

6. Foil Baking Pans with Lids

When you’re baking casseroles, you won’t want to put your glass or metal baking dishes in the freezer. Instead, buy foil baking pans with lids so that you aren’t risking glass cracking or metal rusting. You can write re-heating instructions on the lid. If you’re worried about the cost, the baking pans are sturdy enough to be washed out at least once, if you’re careful. The lids can’t be re-used but a simple piece of foil will work as a great replacement.

7. Sharpie

Regular ink pens won’t work on most freezer bags or foil pans. Instead, you’ll need a Sharpie to write directions. Stick with a darker color like red, blue, or black to make sure that your writing can be easily read.

8. Freezer Labels

If you don’t want to write directly on bags or pans, freezer labels are a great option. You can buy them in packs of 100, and yes, a regular pen should work for them.

9. Food-Safe Freezer Containers

Freezer bags work great for firmer foods, but for things like soups you may want something firmer with a lid. Food-safe freezer containers are a great option, and since they’re made of firm plastic, they can be reused over and over again.

10. Chest Freezer

Okay, this one isn’t a must-have, but it will make freezer cooking easier for you. Most refrigerators have small freezers which means that you’re only going to be able to get a small amount of freezer meals stored. If you have a small chest freezer or small upright freezer, you’ll be able to store significantly more. If the cost of buying one new puts you off, check your local buy, sell, and trade Facebook groups or Craigslist. You can find used freezers significantly cheaper used than new ones.

FreezEasy Freezer Meal Plan

FreezEasy

If you need some help getting started with freezer cooking, FreezEasy is a great way to go. It will teach and equip you with a key strategy and set of tools and resources that will help you get organized and finally feel like you can get a delicious, wholesome dinner on the table without losing your mind!

The FreezEasy Freezer Cooking Meal Plans are printable downloads that contain recipes, shopping lists, assembly notes, assembly instructions – both loading “by recipe” and “by ingredient” – an assembly video, and printable labels for your bags and trays. The downloads are delivered immediately to your inbox after you purchase them.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni

This homemade Rice-a-Roni is a delicious substitute for the box version and is perfect for families. It can also easily be made gluten free.By contributing writer Tessa

This homemade Rice-a-Roni is a delicious substitute for the box version and is perfect for families. It can also easily be made gluten free.

Growing up, I simply adored all varieties of Rice-a-Roni. It was total comfort food for me! Of course, once I started reading labels, there was no way I was going to feed my family something so heavily processed and loaded with nasty ingredients (MSG? Nasty! And what does hydrolyzed or autolyzed mean? I don’t want to know!)

My whole family loves this recipe, and I get my comfort food back!

This homemade Rice-a-Roni is a delicious substitute for the box version and is perfect for families. It can also easily be made gluten free.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, avocado oil, or butter
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup orzo or spaghetti broken into roughly 1-inch pieces (I use gluten free orzo or spaghetti)
  • 1 cup long grain or basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (final amount will depend on how salted the broth is)
  • 1¾ cup beef or chicken broth, homemade preferable
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons spices: parsley, sage, thyme, garlic powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat the butter over medium low heat.
  2. Once warm, add in the onion and gently sauté for about 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add in the orzo or broken spaghetti. Sauté until pasta is golden and starting to brown.
  4. Stir in the rice and salt.
  5. Pour the broth over the rice, stirring. Place lid on top, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low.
  6. Cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, then tun off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

This homemade Rice-a-Roni is a delicious substitute for the box version and is perfect for families. It can also easily be made gluten free.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Jambalaya Pasta

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Aidells®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Have you ever made a meal that makes you feel like you just ate at a restaurant?

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My favorite thing to do is grab dinner out, but that’s because we eat a lot of tacos, pizza, and tuna casserole around here and I like something different once in a while.

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This jambalaya pasta is better than any I’ve ever had at a restaurant and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Who has more than 30 minutes to make dinner- not me!!

I love a little kick in my food, and Aidells® Cajun Style Andouille sausage (available at my favorite grocery store Publix) is the perfect way to take your regular pasta up a notch. Hormone, nitrate, and gluten-free, Aidells® is a great choice for your family. My husband isn’t eating gluten so I made this recipe for him with extra spinach and no noodles. You could also serve it over rice or mix it in with spiralized zucchini noodles for a gluten-free dinner.

aidells

I’ve started adding spinach to almost every meal because my kids don’t seem to notice, however it is optional in this recipe. The spinach cooks down in this recipe and mixes in with all the other ingredients, making it an easy way to get a serving of vegetables with this meal.

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Jambalaya Pasta
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Aidells® Cajun Style Andouille sliced into rounds (available at Publix)
  • 2 Chicken breasts (sliced then)
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ small red pepper diced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup heavy cream or sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Cajun seasoning (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a saute' pan.
  3. Slice chicken breasts into thin strips and saute' with butter and minced garlic over medium heat.
  4. Add cajun seasoning.
  5. Add onion and red pepper
  6. Once chicken is almost cooked add the sausage and spinach. Cover the pan.
  7. Continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add cream (or sour cream) and cook an additional 4 minutes over low heat.
  9. Mix in shredded parmesan cheese.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Drain pasta.
  12. Pour sauce over pasta and serve.

This jambalaya pasta is so good and it takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

aidells5

The kick from the andouille sausage is just enough to make it spicy, but not so spicy that the kids won’t eat it. My family gobbled this up so I’ll be making it again soon.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Aidells®. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.