Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ground Beef Assistor

There are a wide variety of products out there that help you turn plain ground beef (or whatever) into a complete meal by providing the extra ingredients and seasonings needed. I am not a fan of these products, because a well-stocked pantry should have pretty much everything you need to make beefy-macaroni casserole. I came up with this recipe off the top of my head 10 minutes after I got home from work one day last week and it was probably the tastiest thing I've had in a while.

BTW: Feel free to notice how carefully I've avoided the use of any trademarked names or phrases in this post!

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (14 ounces) plain tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 cups dried macaroni pasta (small shells, elbows, etc.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (topping)

Brown the beef, onion, celery, and bell peppers together in a dutch oven or large, heavy skillet. Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked. Put into serving bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Makes about 12 servings and is great the next day heated in the microwave.

Note: Depending on how much liquid was in the tomatoes (and how moist the veggies were), you may need to add more water to allow the pasta to cook. Ideally, the stew should thicken up so there is very little liquid in it just as the pasta cooks completely. You may need to add 1/2 cup of water once or twice during cooking if the stew sets up while the pasta is still crunchy.


Michelle Walkenhorst said...

Alton would be proud!

michelle said...

Tried it and loved it! My boys devoured it, actually. We halved the meat, and it worked out perfect for us. Never tried 'hamburger helper', but I am sure this would beat it! Thanks!

Jake Walkenhorst said...

To be honest, I only used that amount of meat because that's how much I had thawed at the time! I'm glad you decided to tweak the recipe to your own taste.