One-skillet weeknight comfort food, "lightened up" and highly adaptable. Not a single can of mushroom soup in sight!
Okay, laugh. Even I think it's funny – albeit frustrating – that last week, I had two pounds of hamburger thawed for dinner and for the life of me, couldn't think what to make.
So there I am, the woman with endless recipe inspiration, my own, too-many cookbooks, a kazillion favorite blogs, the Whole Wide World of the World Wide Web, for goodness sake.
Talk about a rut. Burgers? It's winter. Meatloaf? Bor-ing. Meatballs? No, no, no, no, no, no.
My fancy-pants cookbooks failed to inspire. Why? Apparently hamburger has been replaced by short ribs and brisket.
A collection of church-style cookbooks from the 1980s failed me too, I'd thought they were a certain thing. Why? One recipe after another, sure, but one can of mushroom soup after another too.
HAMBURGER CASSEROLE RECIPE
Time to table: 50 minutes
Makes 10 cups
- 1/2 pound macaroni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup (3 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
- 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
Heat oven to 350F/175C.
Cook the macaroni in well-salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmery. Add the onion and green pepper as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Add the meat and cumin, breaking meat into pieces with a spatula, and cook until all signs of pink has disappeared. Stir in the cornmeal and let cook for a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and let cook, stirring often, scraping up any brown bits from the pan.
Remove from heat, stir in the cooked macaroni, broth, buttermilk, parsley and salt and pepper. Taste it now, adjust seasonings. Stir in 1 cup cheddar.
Insert skillet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheddar over top and return to oven until cheese melts, under the broiler if you prefer.
MAKE AHEAD Cook and drain the macaroni, toss with a teaspoon of oil to prevent sticking. Cover and refrigerate. Cook the vegetables, meat and tomatoes; cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, combine macaroni, cooked meat-tomato mixture and remaining ingredients and place in a casserole dish or oven-safe skillet. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle cheese over top and return to the oven until cheese melts.
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