Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cheeseburger Pasta

I'm working full-time now.  But it's not full-time forever; it's full-time for now!

I have a long-term sub job while the teacher has her first baby.

It's a great class of 4th grade kids! 

Last week was our first full-week together.

I think it went well! 

But I have really big shoes to fill! 

Even though I'm enjoying this new experience, I still adore my responsibilities at home and I don't want things to change.

But I'm learning how to balance it all without losing my own "balance!"

One of the quick dinners I created last week came out of the need for a one-skillet, easy cleanup kind of meal!
I had a thought of what I wanted, so I began my search on the internet.

You know my saying:  "If I can think of something "new," then I know it's already out there!  There is absolutely NO WAY that I'm smart enough to come up with something entirely unthought of!"

Sure enough, there were several recipes, but none exactly as I was thinking.

So, I took a general look and then went to my kitchen and did a little bit of adapting!

Cheeseburger Pasta was a new dinner creation for us!
We all liked it.

But do you know what my boy cherub asked, "Mom, is this like Hamburger Helper?"

Now I'm not knocking Hamburger Helper.  But I've never served that to my cherubs! 

I've never had a real interest in it!

But -- in an effort to not sound snoody, maybe this is like a gourmet Hamburger Helper!

Finally, this recipe will probably drive you crazy if you want specific measurements!  I really created by looks:  did it look saucy enough, did it look like enough pasta, did it look like I squeezed enough condiments in . . .you get the idea!

With that said, I will try to give you amounts, but they are purely guesses!  Go with your instinct!

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
8-12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 TBSP butter
3-4 TBSP flour
4 ounces cream cheese
2 TBSP ketchup
1-2 TBSP mustard
2 TBSP dill relish
1/2-1 onion, chopped
1/2 can diced tomatoes, well drained
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet add the butter and melt.  Slowly add the flour, gently stirring to incorporate into the butter.  Keep adding flour until you have enough "mixture" that looks like cake batter.  Keep stirring to cook the flour.  You are making a roux.  Cook long enough that the flour and butter mixture has a slight golden color, but isn't browning.

Slowly add the milk.  Maybe 1 cup -- more or less.  Stir until there are no lumps and it is thick like a gravy.  If the milk is quickly absorbed into your flour mixture, add a bit more milk at a time.  If it seems to thin, keep cooking a bit to see if it thickens.  If not, don't worry.

Once your white sauce is made, add the cream cheese, in cubes, and stir until melted.  Add in an additional 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.

Add in the ketchup, mustard, dill relish, onion, and tomatoes.  Stir until incorporated.  Add the cooked pasta and meat and stir well.

Top with the additional cheese.

Place in oven and heat thoroughly and until the cheese on top is melted.

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