Welcome to the heartwarming world of culinary simplicity and deliciousness! Today, we’re diving into the realm of the One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole – a dish that not only tantalizes your taste buds with the flavors of a classic cheeseburger but does so with minimal fuss and cleanup. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, this recipe combines the convenience of a one-pot wonder with the comforting, cheesy goodness of a casserole. Let’s embark on a journey of flavor and simplicity.
Who is this Recipe For?
This One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole is a godsend for those seeking a hearty, satisfying meal without the hassle of multiple pots and pans. If you’re a fan of cheeseburgers, pasta, and the magic that happens when the two collide, this recipe is tailor-made for you. It’s a family-friendly dish that will have both kids and adults coming back for seconds.
Gather these simple ingredients to kickstart your journey to cheesy bliss:
- 3 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, at room temperature (separated)
- 1 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 (16 oz.) box elbow macaroni, uncooked
- ¾ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
- Chopped parsley (to garnish)
Let’s cook up some comfort in just a few easy steps:
- Cheese Prep:
Start by shredding the cheddar cheese and setting it aside. Having it at room temperature ensures a smooth and even melt later when we introduce it to the pasta.
- Beefy Base:
Season the ground beef with your preferred amount of salt and pepper. In a large pot over medium heat, cook and crumble the beef along with the diced onions. Drain any excess grease that may have escaped.
- Flavor Infusion:
Add minced garlic to the beefy mix and cook for an additional minute. Introduce the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, stirring until they become well-acquainted with the other ingredients.
- Macaroni Magic:
Pour in the beef broth and add the uncooked macaroni. Give it a good stir and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium or medium/low heat.
- Simmer and Stir:
Cover the pot and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir briefly, replace the cover, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the pasta reaches that perfect al dente texture.
- Cheese Cascade:
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the room temperature sour cream and half of the milk. Only add the other half if you desire a creamier consistency. Gradually sprinkle in 2 ½ cups of the shredded cheddar, stirring as you go. Witness the magic as the cheese melts, creating a luscious, uniform consistency.
- Final Flourish:
Once the cheese has melted, top your creation with the remaining cheese. Replace the lid and heat for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until that final layer of cheese is gloriously melted.
- Garnish and Serve:
Top it off with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for a burst of freshness, and your One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole is ready to be served! The parsley is optional, but the visual appeal and hint of herbaceousness it adds are worth the extra touch.
Kitchen Equipment Needed
To navigate this one-pot wonder, ensure you have the following on hand:
- Large pot with a lid
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Grater (for shredding cheese)
In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The flavors tend to meld and intensify, making for a delightful second helping. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stove, and you’re back in cheesy business.
Tips and Tricks
- Customize your cheese blend with a mix of sharp cheddar and mild varieties for a depth of flavor.
- Feel free to add diced pickles, mustard, or other burger condiments for an extra layer of authenticity.
Q: Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely! While elbow macaroni is the classic choice, you can experiment with other pasta shapes like rotini or penne.
Q: Can I make it ahead of time?
Certainly! Prepare the casserole up to the point of adding the final cheese layer. When ready to serve, reheat and finish the last cheesy steps.
Q: Can I skip the sour cream?
While sour cream adds a delightful creaminess, you can omit it if you prefer a slightly lighter version of the dish.