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.