Cheeseburger Macaroni

Cheeseburger Macaroni from Very Culinary

by Amy on May 24, 2012 · 26 comments

Most Saturday nights, after the kids are in bed, Paul will turn on baseball, if there’s a game, or we’ll attempt to make a dent in our TiVo lineup – actually, lately we’ve been playing video games (yes, we are 14, so what? Have you tried Temple Run? ADDICTING) – and I will sit next to him planning out my weekly menu and shopping list.

Rarely does a week go by without him asking, “Are you going to put Mac and Cheese and hot dogs on the list?” (of course referring to the KRAFT boxed variety.) To which I always reply, “Um. No.”

But when I saw this recipe, I bookmarked it, knowing it would probably be good, and also thinking I would meet him somewhere in the middle.

Everyone inhaled it, declaring it a winner, and a dish I’ll make regularly. Whew! He’ll finally stop bugging me about Mac and Cheese!

The following Saturday, I was menu planning again.

Paul: are you going to put Mac and Cheese, and hot dogs on the list?
Me: what?? I just made a Mac and Cheese dish.
Paul: when?
Me: three nights ago!
Paul: oh. That was Mac and Cheese? That wasn’t Mac and Cheese. And where were the hot dogs?
Me: I thought you liked it?
Paul: I did. I loved it. But…so, are you going to make “real” Mac and Cheese?
Me: what I made is way more “real” then that boxed crap. That powdered uck…what is that, even? No. Just…no.
Paul: well then, can you just buy it, and I’ll make it?

*bangs head against wall*

Cheeseburger Macaroni
Serves 3-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

• 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup ketchup
• 1/4 cup tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 cups macaroni
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, mustard, ketchup, tomato paste, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Brown the beef and onions, breaking apart the meat, until the onions are soft and the meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and combine. Drain off grease and return pan to heat.

Give your broth mixture a quick stir and pour it into the meat. Bring to a boil and add the macaroni.

Reduce the heat to medium, and cover. Continue cooking for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring a few times to make sure the pasta isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When the macaroni is done, sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Stir until melted, about 1 minute, and serve immediately.

(adapted from Alosha’s Kitchen, originally from Ezra Pound Cake)

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura E August 4, 2013 at 2:29 am

I randomly came across this recipe and just made it for a Sunday night winter meal. So darn good! Thank you, its going to be one of my regulars too! P.S So happy ive discovered your site, I love food blogs with a good sense of humor!

:-) Laura from South Australia.


Amy August 5, 2013 at 7:54 am

Awesome on both counts! Welcome!


Nilsa July 5, 2013 at 6:47 am


would love to know if the cheeseburger macaroni would work out as a make ahead dish and reheatable in portions (microwave). would love to make this for my team at work.


Amy July 5, 2013 at 6:59 am

Hi Nilsa – I’ve never made it ahead of time, but I have enjoyed left overs for lunch the next day and it reheated well. Nothing like fresh, but it was still quite good. Try it!


Nilsa July 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

i just emailed you with the same question that you answered – sorry! ;0) THANKS so very much. I will try it and let you know how it goes.


Sonya November 27, 2012 at 3:24 am

I made this a few weeks ago and we loved it! perfect meal to have after a long walk in the woods. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!


Rhian October 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Thank you for the recipe. I just made it tonight and I like it. Even my 15 months old daughters ate it. It is tasty and very easy to make. My husband was not impressed, surprise surprise!


Sandrine September 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I just made this, really delicious! My hubby can’t stop eting it. Thanks for sharing the fabulous recipe!


Amy September 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Awesome! So glad you guys enjoyed it!


Sile June 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

Thanks for this! I’m constantly looking for “better” versions of hamburger helper, because I also refuse to make boxed meals! But my husband actually WANTS my mac n cheese over the blue box. ;) How dare he not LOVE homemade!!

Never stop playing! When you do, it’s all over!


Lana May 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I needed to laugh just before bed so I can have some really good dreams:) Thanks for obliging:)
And why is it that men in our lives are the Kraft fiends? My husband keeps on dragging the blue boxes in the house claiming that he found a great deal. The kids refuse to eat them if I don’t change their essence completely, like adding a pound of sharp Cheddar or a Mornay sauce, which defeats the purpose:)
I love your version and I am going to spring it to the unsuspecting masses this week!
BTW, I sneak to play Mahjong on my iPhone before I fall asleep once in a while, but I do feel guilty for leaving Mr. John Irving on the night stand patiently waiting:)


Joanne May 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I had to laugh at Paul’s antics. I’m pretty sure the.boy. is gonna start breaking that out on me soon. You know…when I ban Ritz crackers from his life. It’s happening.


Amy May 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

No Ritz crackers, Joanne??? What are you, a communist?! ;-)


the wicked noodle May 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Oh Amy…you crack me up!!! This is hilarious! And, as usual, I have many things to say:

First: I can’t possibly die before meeting you & Paul in person. It’s SO on my bucket list.
Second: I CAN’T GET ALAN TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES WITH ME. I know. You saw my post about how he waited an hour for us to get up after locking himself out of the house? YES…so sweet and I’m so appreciative. BUT WILL THE MAN PLAY A VIDEO GAME WITH ME? Sigh…
Third: I’m MORTIFIED to say this, but…I like the boxed mac ‘n cheese. With cut up hot dogs. I know…I’m going straight to foodie hell for admitting that!


Amy May 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

HEE. Oh, I know. I feel ya…I keep waiting for there to be some food event in San Fran that we’re both invited too. Come on now, hurry up already!! And then maybe we can sneak off and play video games on our phones together :D

Don’t be mortified about the mac and cheese – did you read the other comments? You are in the majority!


Mom May 24, 2012 at 11:19 am

I don’t know about this one, but I might try it. I’ll let you know when I do.


Amy May 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I can’t see why Dad wouldn’t like this ?? If not, then just pour chocolate syrup on top ;-)


Bev @ Bev Cooks May 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

This just did me in. IN, I tell you.


Jen May 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

LOL…literally. I can so hear this conversation! This sounds like a conversation between Jay and me when we’re discussing meat for dinner.

This looks really yummy to me and something that won’t take much time that I can put at the top of the queue.


Amy May 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I think I’ll make this Saturday after our long day on the road, when you’re here for dinner. Easy, yummy, and you can give it a test run before you make it for you and Jay.


Jenna May 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

This looks really good–comfort food, baby! And I think my husband and brother-in-law (who recently moved in with us) would appreciate it for sure. Thankfully they’ve never begged me for Kraft mac–but I’ve been known to make it myself (and just for myself) on the sly every few months. Paul has a point–there’s just something about it . . .


PJ May 24, 2012 at 7:18 am

I hate to say it, but here it goes! I love boxed mac and cheese! Spirals or elbow, but not KRAFT! Before Walmart changed the Thick and Creamy kind recently. My husband loves it also with hot dogs! This looks great too! Can’t wait to try it!


Melissa May 24, 2012 at 5:21 am

I need to make this again soon. With homemade chicken stock, and perhaps a splash of Worcestershire for good measure. Too easy to cook, inhale, make everyone happy.

Video games + menu planning? We really are four peas in a pod. Also, I have a soft spot for Kraft dinner, which I think you may have known. Steve, too. He likes a can of tuna mixed in; I favor a can of Leseur peas. I know. Shuddup. ;)


Amy May 24, 2012 at 6:04 am

I get it, really. I’d probably feel that way if you placed a bowl of Spaghetti O’s in front of me…it’s one of the rare packaged goods my mom ever allowed us to eat as kids.

To me, the beef broth was just slightly too strong. The chicken broth mellowed out the flavor, while the added red pepper flakes gave it some heat. Yummy dish either way!

As for the video games…this goes way back. When Paul and I first met and he came over to my place, he immediately noticed the Playstation. I think he wanted to marry me right then and there. The dill pickle potato chips sealed the deal.


Melissa May 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

Yep. Back to the dating days. Peas. In pods. :)

And please. Spaghetti-Os and ramen were a late night double treat at 20. Sometimes they were also all I could afford, but even at that. Ah, nostalgic food. :)


pam May 24, 2012 at 5:09 am

This sounds so good. And, I’m with Paul, the blue boxed mac and cheese is like childhood all over again.


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