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Creamy Mushroom and Hamburger Mac & Cheese
America's favorite comfort food
This is not what I was going to make for dinner last night, but because I spent far too much time 'computing', I decided on doing something simple.
Macaroni and cheese is an all-time classic comfort food for a lot of people, myself included. Add hamburger, a salad or veg, and it's a complete meal. The problem I have always had is that, once baked, my mac & cheese is always a little dried out and I am unsatisfied ... because I love creamy, cheesy, comforting mac and cheese!
I have tried everything ... making extra sauce - which just makes it thicker, boiling the pasta in milk and adding cheese - which turned out pretty well, but ...
So, last night I checked to see what I had on hand and started throwing things together. I think this one is a winner. See what you think ... comments are much appreciated.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- 1 cup green onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons (+/-) olive oil, for sauteeing
- ½ pound macaroni, small shells, or rotini pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 4 ounces - half a brick cream cheese
- ¼ cup American or favorite soft cheese (like Cheese Whiz)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, this is up to you - I LOVE garlic
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup Italian blend and/or Cheddar cheese, shredded - for topping
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease casserole dish
- While pasta is cooking, saute ground beef in 2 T olive oil.
- When meat is still slightly pink, add mushrooms, onions and garlic and cook until meat is browned and crumbled.
- Lightly drain pasta and add to casserole dish. (I use an Asian strainer spoon, which is ideal for draining pasta and retaining a bit of the cooking water).
- In a bowl add cream cheese and American cheese - I warm this up a bit in the microwave for easier blending. Add cream of mushroom soup, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and parsley and blend well.
- Stir sauce into ground beef mixture, pour onto the pasta, and blend.
- Top with shredded Cheddar, Italian blend, combination or other favorite cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
Because there are only two of us, I don't use the entire box/bag of pasta (shells, rotini, etc). I do cook it all at once, however. I use half and cool the other half, bag it, and put it in the freezer. This is great if you need a last minute meal on a busy day!