The Best Cheeseburger Macaroni
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
You know, Hamburger Helper, the kind in a box, from Betty Crocker that we love?
That's the one. This is the next level version, the "adult" version with a few extra ingredients but the same satisfying taste.
We have been trying to use the pantry reserves before heading out to the grocery store and one of the many pasta/rice boxed meals was a Hamburger Help Cheeseburger Macaroni.
I started looking at the box in my pantry one afternoon, trying to figure out how I can sauce it up a bit. My first thought, my favorite burger seasoning. Why not use that to season the ground beef, and then my mind started building the way it does and I thought okay, some tomatoes will add depth, bacon because why not? And then I reached this idea. "What do I seriously love on a burger?" The answer: caramelized onions. They put this next level flavor on every single thing you layer them onto.
That's easily the longest part of this recipe, because they need about an hour to cook. To break it down, you need to slice an onion in half, then make halves of the two halves and slice them around the onion chunk horizontally. You want onion crescent moons in the end. This will appear to be so. much. onion. But they will shrink down and then you will question the nature of onion.
I will add a section of my favorite way to caramelize onions in the instruction/direction area at the end of the post, because its not a long process, but it explains better in steps. Beyond the onions, you need some cooked and chopped bacon bites, canned diced tomatoes and a beef bouillon cube!
I know, you're like this lady with the freakin' bouillon cubes, but I have a good reason! The box calls for 1+1/4 CUP of hot water. Now, just so you know, people don't suggest adding pre-heated tap water into food to eat. Risks of lead come into play, and I know you do bring this to boil, but I don't want to be the one to suggest lead poisoning, so I boiled the water first. And I added a beef bouillon cube for some extra flavor!
As far as the 2 CUPS of milk added, I suggest whole milk, and if you don't have whole milk, use 1 CUP 2% and 1 CUP half and half, that's what I used this time. This will add to the richness of the cheese, plus the beef broth water, ohmygawddd. Guys, it's so delicious.
The savory, a little sweet, super loaded with bacon flavor boxed meal we all know and love, plus some fun extra stuff to pump up that perfectly easy dinner. And, if you're like me and digging for different meal ideas, this will satisfy!
a box of Hamburger Helper Cheese Burger Macaroni
2 CUPS dairy; whole milk or a combination of 2% + half and half or 1% + half and half
1 1/2 CUP canned diced tomatoes
1 CUP caramelized onion
1 lb. ground beef
parsley for garnish
2 TBSP salt
1/2 TSP cumin
1/2 TBSP papika
1/2 TSP chili powder
1/4 TSP onion powder
1/2 TSP ground mustard
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1/4 TSP black pepper
1/2 TSP dried basil
mix! and use for seasoning the ground beef when it comes time to brown it in a pan
1 yellow onion
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP canola oil
to make ahead of time:
> heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet at MEDIUM/HIGH
> once melted toss in onions, salt and dried thyme, toss around to cover
> cook for 5 minutes until the onions become translucent and do not let them burn, you will basically baby sit these for 5 straight minutes
> once the five minutes passes, turn the heat down to LOW and cover
> stir around every 10-15 minutes to check on the status
> do this for about 45 minutes, then use immediately or store in the fridge for 3-4 days
(begin making the cheeseburger macaroni when there's about 20 minutes left to finish caramelizing)
1. Season ground beef in a pan, heat on MEDIUM/HIGH
2. Once browned, drain and return to pan
3. Mix into the pan with the ground beef the hot beef broth, the milk, the seasoning packet and the noodles, reduce heat to LOW/MEDIUM and let it simmer
4. Once you see bubbles starting, add in the diced tomatoes, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes
5. Add in the crispy chopped bacon and the caramelized onions, stir and serve!