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Deluxe Mac and Cheese: Stretch A Pound Of Ground Beef (Hamburger)! Your Family Will Love It!

Updated on February 15, 2011

Budget and Taste Bud Friendly!

Macaroni and cheese is an American favorite! This recipe changes it up a bit, but has lasted a very long time in my family. Over 30 years ago, when my husband and I were young and had three little ones, we also had very little money. Even though we both worked, we didn't make much and what we had, we had to stretch. What can you do with a pound of hamburger? If you look in that tiny package of meat, one pound is not alot. But we came up with this and it was awesome!

Funny thing, this recipe was born on a budget, but it was so loved, that my now adult children still love it and cook it for their families, even when the budget isn't so tight. This quick, easy one dish meal has vegetables, protein and a starch. If you try it on your kids, I have no doubt that they will pass it on, too!

Velveeta is a processed food, but it has had a place in my kiychen for many years. I don't buy many things in a box or a can anymore, but I will always have room in my life for Velveeta!

When Winter Comes, This Meal Will Warm You Up!

  1. 1 pound of ground beef (these days I have a little more money and use ground sirloin, even though the regular ground beef has so much more flavor.)
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped (that seems to hide them from the kids)
  3. 2 28 ounce cans of diced or stewed tomatoes (the kids seem to like it more with diced tomatoes)
  4. 1 clove of garlic, diced (Italians put garlic in everything)
  5. 1 cup of water
  6. 1 pound of pasta (I recommend Barilla pasta), any shape
  7. 3/4 to 1 pound of Velveeta processed cheese, chopped into little squares
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of ground, black pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
  10. 1 Tablespoon of olive oil

You will need a pasta pot for the pasta and another good sized pot for the ground beef and tomatoes. Fill the pasta pot with water. Set aside. In the other pot, heat the olive oil and drop in the ground beef. Break the ground beef apart and allow it to brown. Add the onions, garlic and pepper and saute those ingredients until the onions are tender and the hamburger is brown. If there is grease at the bottom of the pan, remove as much as you can with a large spoon, or cover the pot with a lid, and carefully tip the pot to drain any undesired grease. Add the tomatoes, water and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil. Sir thoroughly and reduce the heat to a heavy simmer. Cover this with a lid and then turn on the pasta pot.

Bring the pasta pot to a boil, salt the pasta water when it comes to a boil, and drop in the pasta. Cook, according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, stir the sauce a few times. Just prior to the pasta being finished, remove the lid from the sauce and drop the Velveeta squares into the sauce. Stir the sauce and the Velveeta will melt and thicken the sauce. Remove the sauce pot from the heat. Drain the finished pasta and pour the pasta into the sauce. Stir to completely cover the pasta. Taste to determine if you need more salt.

I let this sit for a few minutes prior to serving.

When A Budget Meal Survives The Years, It Says Something!

Many of the cost saving meals my husband and I made for our growing family have gone by the wayside. They weren't good enough to stand the test of time, I guess. This one, however, is different. Both my sons-in-law love this, and they don't have it as a part of their family history. This will easily serve a family of six and cooks in about 30 minutes. If you have less than six in your family, you will have some leftover. It is just as good the second or third day, reheated in the microwave.

I don't remember ever serving anything else with this dinner. It was a true one pot meal! When I see my grandkids gobble this up, it brings back memories of when my big ones were little.


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