Pick up a humble pack of ground beef on your next grocery shopping trip, and let dinner take you on a trip down memory lane. This budget-friendly meat is the beginning of so many childhood favorites, like beef tacos, pasta skillets, and sloppy Joes — all of which are just as irresistibly satisfying today. Here are 10 of our favorites that are sure to spark some nostalgia.
Inspired by the tiny White Castle sliders and crinkle fries of your youth, this version treats you to a slightly thicker burger. Don't worry — it's still packed with all those soft onions you remember. Best of all, the whole meal comes together on a sheet pan for easy prep and easy cleanup.
Spaghetti and meatballs is a timeless childhood classic. This easy slow cooker version simmers in sauce for hours while you go about your day.
Because it's a proven fact that cheese makes everything better, this grown-up version of Hamburger Helper gets a big handful of cheddar melted over the top. This is a dinner guaranteed to be a hit all around the table.
Just like the classic you remember, this version fills tender cabbage leaves with a savory meat-and-rice filling, all blanketed with a sweet-and-sour tomato sauce. And to make this dish more weeknight-friendly, we make these on the stovetop in just one skillet, from start to finish.
This might make you nostalgic for Hamburger Helper or remind you of the goulash your mom used to make. Either way, it's a recipe that deserves a place in your meal plan. It's wonderfully saucy, loaded with a warm blend of spices, and best of all comes together in a single skillet.
6. Sloppy Joes
It's not possible to think about my childhood with reminiscing about sloppy Joe night. And these hearty, messy sandwiches are just as irresistibly satisfying now as they were years ago.
Beef tacos, layered with seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheddar, are a dinner favorite. This recipe also shows you how to get a jumpstart on dinner by making taco kits to stash in the freezer for busy nights.
When you want a real dose of nostalgia, add meatloaf and mashed potatoes to your meal plan. Then savor the leftovers as a meatloaf sandwich the next day.
No grill, no problem. Not only is it super easy to make burgers on the stovetop, but they'll also remind of the one's you ate as a kid. Just don't forget the steak fries.
10. Cheesy Beefaroni
This pasta night favorite is inspired by that can of Chef Boyardee you grew up with, but so much better. Here tender shells are tossed with a quick, meaty bolognese and finished with a double dose of cheese.