When I was young, I grew up on a lot of comfort food. The meals were always homemade, but they were meals that required minimal prep and always hit the spot. Comfort food was definitely a specialty of my Mother’s. I have her to thank for teaching me all these go-to easy meals that I can use on busy nights or nights where I just don’t know what to cook.
One of my all-time favorites is “Cheese Burger Pasta Bake” otherwise known as cheese burger mac ‘n’ cheese. The way my Mom prepared this meal was quite basic… utilizing diced tomatoes, ground beef, pasta and cheese. I’ve since adapted the recipe.
1 lb Ground Beef
28oz Diced Tomatoes (not drained)
2 tsp Italian Dressing
1 tsp Tex-Mex Seasoning
1/2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese (shredded)
3 cups of medium Bow Tie Pasta
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is boiling, brown the ground beef in a frying pan. Once brown, drain off the fat and stir in diced tomatoes, dressing and spices. Simmer with lid on until pasta is ready.
Add cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix well and remove pan from heat. Let the pasta sit and become saturated in the sauce while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Alternatively, you could put the pasta straight into the casserole dish. I prefer to let the noodles saturate and suck up some of the excess sauce before baking. Do whatever works for you and your schedule!
Once the oven has warmed, add a heaping spoonful or two of pasta to a casserole dish. Top with a small layer of shredded cheese. Add remaining pasta and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.