Both Scott and I grew up with those meals that had a big hand as a mascot and wanted to “help” you out with dinner. You know what I’m talking about. The meal ended up looking like runny cat vomit on a plate.
There’s a great image for ya!
But let’s be serious, that is totally true. It was also yummy once you stopped looking at it too closely. In fact it was one of the few ways I would actually eat beef growing up. I wasn’t much of a fan and ground beef was yucksville as far as I was concerned.
But add in some crap pasta and cheap powder preservative laden cheese sauce and I was all over it!
Years ago, when I started cooking full time for Scott and I, most boxed items went out the window. Once I learned the technique for making a basic cheese sauce, making a homemade version of “helper” anything became easy peasy.
Now we have an upscale, much healthier version that I bust out from time to time. Or when Scott asks.
Andrea’s Skillet Burger Mac
- 1lb Ground Sirloin (or ground meat of your choice)
- 3C Whole Wheat Elbows
- 1/2 Large Onion Chopped
- 1 Green Pepper, 1 Red Pepper, chopped
- 2C Shredded Carrot
- 4 Huge handfuls of spinach
- 4 TBSP White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2C Unsweetened SO Delicious Coconut Milk
- 1 1/2C Chicken Stock
- 2TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Big Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- 2tsp Garlic Powder
- 2tsp Chili Powder
- 1 1/2C Shredded Cheddar
- Olive Oil for cooking
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook until just half way down, drain and set aside. In a medium sized, high sided skillet, add in olive oil, about 1/2TBSP and heat over medium heat. Add in the ground beef and cook until done. As it’s cooking sprinkle with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When it is done cooking, remove by putting in a bowl lined with some papertowels. If the skillet has a bunch of oil in it, drain in a glass heat proof container. Put back on medium heat and add in some fresh olive oil, about a TBSP. Add in the onions, peppers, and carrots. Stir and add in the seasonings, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cook until the onions and peppers soften. Add in the worcestershire sauce and stir. Add the ground meat back into the skillet. Sprinkle in the flour and combine until everything is coated. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes then add in the chicken stock, slowly. Stir and add in the coconut milk. Bring this mixture to a simmer and add in the spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted, then add in the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add in the pasta and combine. Remove from heat, dish into bowls and serve!
I ran out of elbows so I had to improvise with some shells! Still got the job done though. This also makes a lot resulting in plenty of leftovers for the next day or you can freeze and reheat for later.
The dish isn’t heavy or overly sauced like the old school inspiration nor is it a very heavy dish. You would think with pasta, beef, and cheese it would feel and sit a little hard in the stomach but I promise it’s a light pasta dish.
You can use whatever ground meat you like, we have access to some great local beef so that’s what I stuck with to keep it more traditional.
Feel free to use milk or another nondairy liquid of your choice in place of the coconut milk. Totally up to you! You can play around with the veggies too, maybe you want some corn or even some asparagus tossed in. Your call!
Perfect one pot dinner that takes a short time to make and pleases just about everyone!
Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!