This isn't a very sophisticated recipe, but it's also the recipe my husband eats as if he will be fasting for the following week. His eyes get kind of teary whenever I make this; he'll show up for dinner early when he knows it's on the menu.
It's nothing new under the sun, but once you try this delightful stovetop dish, you will understand the deepest meaning of the word crowd-pleaser. And it all cooks in one skillet. Even the pasta, which cooks right in the sauce! I know, I know — it's the little things.
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef & Macaroni: Watch the Video
Get a huge pan, a 12- or 13-inch one (best pan in the world if you cook for a group regularly), make a vat of this, and keep it in the fridge. The leftovers are brilliant. Try it with ground turkey instead of beef if you like.
If you don't have a huge honking pan, cut the recipe in half. If you have bigger kids who are constantly running in and out of the house with their friends, all of them starving and in need of fuel before or after soccer practice, then you, my friend, may never again be without a pot of this awaiting reheating and inhalation.
This recipe is reminiscent of something that rhymes with Flamberger Felper, but it's better — and it's yours.
Serve this meal with:
- Light, crunchy green salad (with a chopped apple as an optional add-in)
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Serves 10 to 12
lean ground beef
olive or vegetable oil
chopped red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper (about 1/4-inch pieces)
peeled chopped carrots
(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice
2 to 3 teaspoons
chili powder (optional, but recommended)
Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
dried elbow macaroni
(8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
Heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat (for this full recipe, it should be a deep 12-inch skillet). Add the beef and cook it until browned, stirring until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Place the browned beef in a strainer and let the fat drain off, then set the beef aside.
Wipe out the skillet, add the oil, and heat it over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, carrots, onion, and garlic and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Return the beef to the skillet and add the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder (if using), and 2 cups of water. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Increase the heat to high and let come to a simmer. Add the elbow macaroni, stir, and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or black pepper as necessary.
Sprinkle the cheddar on top, then cover the skillet and cook until the cheese is melty, about 1 minute. Serve this right out of the skillet.
Reprinted with permission from Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! by Katie Workman, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Workman Publishing Company.