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Beef, Cheese and Noodle Bake

January 12, 2010

I agree that the title does NOT sound very yummy, you’d think someone could have come up with a better name for this.  And this picture does not do it justice….but it IS yummy!!!

Let me tell you something you may not know.  Those of you who know me, know that I love to cook….I love to make things from scratch, bake….whatever.  Well, this has not always been the case.  In college and into the early years of marriage, I will say….sheepishly, Hamburger Helper was a main staple in our house.  Over the years, Jeff and I don’t eat it much, mainly because if our whole family were to eat Hamburger Helper, I’d have to make 3 boxes…but more importantly all of the additives, preservatives and chemicals in it are just NOT good for you.  I will say, before I found this recipe, I would occasionally feed this to my kids.  Over the past few years I have always been hoping to find a made from scratch recipe that would taste similar to Hamburger Helper, namely the Three Cheese flavor….and when I found this recipe in a random magazine I picked up from the library….I was so excited.  But the more exciting part for me was that MY KIDS LOVE IT!!!!!!!  So here’s the recipe…….


  • 1  (8-ounce) package small elbow macaroni
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  prechopped onion
  • 1  cup  preshredded carrot
  • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
  • 1  pound  lean ground sirloin
  • 1  cup  tomato sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  fat-free milk
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2  cups  (6 ounces) 2% reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese (such as Cracker Barrel), divided


Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.

Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 cup cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

BONUS:  It has veggies in it!!!!!  Enjoy!

PS – this came from a Cooking Light magazine, January 2006

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Barbara Williams permalink
    January 12, 2010 12:51 pm

    Michelle, this looks like something Eddie used to make at the firehouse. They called it Bush..??? mmmmmm He makes it here for us all the time.. He still thinks he is cooking for all the firman.. We always have lots left over..

  2. January 12, 2010 1:28 pm

    This is so great – one of the recipes I picked up too at our Tuesday night food planning awhile ago! I made it, but with whole wheat elbows instead. Talk about a yummy (and healthy) twist! Glad you liked it too. 🙂

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