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Cheeseburger Casserole

Dive into Comfort with Cheeseburger Casserole: A Family Favorite

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Cheeseburger Casserole combines all the flavors of a classic cheeseburger in a hearty and comforting one-pan dish. This recipe features seasoned ground beef, pasta, savory sauce, and gooey cheese, topped with crispy bun croutons for an irresistible twist. Whether you’re feeding a hungry family or hosting a casual dinner party, this cheesy casserole is sure to be a hit. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to create this delicious and satisfying dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard (see notes)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 16 ounces cellentani pasta
  • 2 cups shredded Colby or cheddar cheese

Bun Croutons:

  • 3 hamburger or hotdog buns, cut into cubes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook the Ground Beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until browned and crumbled. Drain excess fat and set aside.
  3. Sauté Onion and Garlic: In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add Seasonings and Sauce: Stir in the ground cayenne, crushed red pepper, ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and spicy brown mustard. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Cook Pasta: In a separate pot, cook the cellentani pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  6. Assemble the Casserole: In the prepared baking dish, combine the cooked ground beef, sautéed onion and garlic mixture, cooked pasta, and beef broth. Mix well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
  7. Top with Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded Colby or cheddar cheese evenly over the casserole mixture.
  8. Prepare Bun Croutons: In a mixing bowl, toss the cubed hamburger or hotdog buns with olive oil, dried marjoram, dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until well coated. Spread the seasoned bun cubes evenly over the cheese layer.
  9. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the bun croutons are golden brown and crispy.
  10. Serve: Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Bun Alternatives: If you don’t have hamburger or hotdog buns, you can use other bread such as sandwich bread or French bread cut into cubes for the croutons.
  • Cheese Options: Feel free to experiment with different cheese varieties such as mozzarella, pepper jack, or a blend of cheeses for added flavor.
  • Vegetarian Version: Omit the ground beef and substitute with cooked lentils, black beans, or your favorite plant-based meat alternative for a vegetarian-friendly version.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto: For a keto-friendly version, substitute the cellentani pasta with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Use sugar-free ketchup and tomato paste to reduce carbohydrate content. Replace the hamburger or hotdog buns with low-carb bread or almond flour bread for the bun croutons.
  • Low-Carb: Similarly, for a low-carb version, use low-carb pasta alternatives such as shirataki noodles or hearts of palm pasta. Choose low-carb and sugar-free condiments for the sauce mixture, and opt for low-carb bread or lettuce wraps for the bun croutons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef? A: Yes, ground turkey can be used as a leaner alternative to ground beef. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 24 hours before baking. Add the bun croutons just before baking.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, leftover casserole can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven or microwave.

Q: Can I customize the seasonings? A: Of course! Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Add more or less spice according to your preference.

Q: Can I make this recipe gluten-free? A: Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta and bread options to make this recipe gluten-free. Ensure all other ingredients are also gluten-free.

Cheeseburger Casserole is a comforting and satisfying meal that brings together all the flavors of a classic cheeseburger in one delicious dish. With its hearty combination of seasoned ground beef, pasta, savory sauce, gooey cheese, and crispy bun croutons, it’s sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing dish for gatherings, this cheesy casserole delivers on taste and simplicity. Give it a try and savor the irresistible flavors of this comforting classic!

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healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

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