One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni

Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.

cheese, fast pasta, ground beef, one-pot, one-pot meal, pasta
Serving Size: Serves 8 with a lot of leftovers, which you will be grateful for (so I guess serves 10 to 12)
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One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni in a pan

Skillet Recipes:

A one skillet recipe is a dinnertime life-saver, I think we can all agree on that.  This ground beef and pasta recipe is very possibly the least sophisticated recipe in The Mom 100 Cookbook, and very possibly the one that my husband in particular eats as though he will be fasting for the following week.  His eyes get kind of teary whenever I made this.  He’ll shows up for dinner early.

It’s nothing new under the sun (macaroni and beef and cheese; rocket science this ain’t), but once you try it you will understand the deepest meaning of the word crowd-pleaser.  And (hold onto to the edge of the table) – IT ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET.  Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce!  I know, I know!  It’s the little things.

Ground beef Pasta recipe in a skillet with a spoon

Get a huge pan, a 12 or 13-incher (best pan in the world if you cook for a group regularly), make a vat of this, keep it in the fridge.  If you don’t have this 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, you my friend, may never again be without a batch of this One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni awaiting reheating and inhalation.

IT ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET.  Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce!  I know, I know!  It’s the little things.Click To Tweet

Beef Mac and Cheese

We actually just call it cheesy beefy for short, and some of the kids friends refer to it as hamburger mac and cheese. My sister-in-law Lisa with her three large boys and revolving cast of visiting teenagers swears by this.  It is reminiscent of something that rhymes with Flamberger Felper, but it’s better and it’s yours.

Beefy Mac Recipe

 

Not to be a broken record, but please, please feel free to experiment with this pretty flexible ground beef skillet recipe. The chili powder, for instance, changes the flavor from a more Italian-American vibe to slightly Mexican, but in no way crosses over into overly exotic.  Use ground turkey or chicken.  Add shallots.  Use cumin, or maybe curry powder.  Try Monterey Jack.  Wear stilettos to the PTA, spit into the wind, take up rock climbing, learn to sing opera (see what happened there?  Now using cumin sounds like a very reasonable experiment, as compared to singing an aria; remember, it’s just ground meat.)

Green pepper is often called for in dishes like this, and it’s fine, but red (or orange or yellow) bell peppers are sweeter, and usually more kid-friendly, but this is not anything other than subjective opinion, and you shall do as you please.

Grating Cheese / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Mia

Reheating Leftover Beefy Mac and Cheese

Leftovers can be reheated on the stovetop over medium low heat (you may want to add a bit of water if it seems like it’s drying out), or in a preheated 350°F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the cheese at the very end, otherwise it has a way of dissolving right into the casserole, not staying on top in that appealing melty way.   If you are serving half of it, and saving half, just sprinkle half the cheese over half the pan, leaving the rest naked for another day.

One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Todd Coleman

Other Recipes Using Ground Beef and Cheese!:

Cheesy Beef and Hash Brown Casserole

Cheesy Mashed Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie

Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Other Macaroni and Cheese Recipes:

Sheetpan Macaroni and Cheese Squares

Stovetop Macaroni and Four Cheeses

Ultimate Creamy Baked Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni recipe: This is one of the most-requested dishes of all time in my house.  Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.

One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni

  • Method: Stovetop
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Print

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (85/15%)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red, yellow, orange, or green bell pepper 
  • 1 cup chopped peeled carrots 
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cans (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes in juice 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (optional but recommended)
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese

1. Heat a very large skillet (for this full recipe, it should be a deep 12-inch pan) over medium high heat and brown the beef, stirring until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.  Drain the beef and set aside.  

The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni recipe: This is one of the most-requested dishes of all time in my house.  Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.

2. Wipe out the skillet, add the oil, and heat it over medium heat. Add the peppers, carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni recipe: This is one of the most-requested dishes of all time in my house.  Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.

3. Add the ground beef back to the skillet, as well as the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder if using.  Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer.  Add the pasta, stir and cover.  Lower the heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes.  Taste and season again if needed.

The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni recipe: This is one of the most-requested dishes of all time in my house.  Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.

4. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole then cover for just 1 more minute until the cheese is melty, and serve.  Serve this right out of the pan.

The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni recipe: This is one of the most-requested dishes of all time in my house.  Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.
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