Thursday, August 1, 2013

Baked Cheesy Mac and Beef

Here is what you’ll need:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of small elbow macaroni
  • Olive oil/cooking spray (whatever floats your boat. I use both)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or sirloin if you’re up for it)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (fat-free) milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • A pinch or two of spices of your choosing.  I recommend a little of oregano, cumin, and chili powder for an extra kick
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to the package directions (about 8 minutes).  Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.
In a really deep skillet or a dutch oven (if you’re lucky enough to own one *sigh*) throw in the onion and carrot and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the onion looks clear.
Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.  Throw in the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until browned, making sure you break it up nice and small (think Taco meat).
Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  Cook for a couple more minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates.
Add pasta to beef mixture and spoon the whole thing into an 11 x 7-inch baking pan (or 13 x 9 because I always end up over-measuring) coated with cooking spray.
Now pour the milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat, adding flour, nutmeg, salt, and whatever spices you settled on.
Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Add 1 and half cups cheese and stir until smooth.  Pour the cheese mixture over pasta mixture.  Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and base at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Let it cool off for a minute or two before serving.
Scoop a few spoonfuls into a bowl.
Grab a fork, stick into food, then bring it over to your mouth.
Open wide and CHOMP!