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Cheesie Mac/ Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper

18 November 2011

A few years ago, Rachel Ray made a meal called Cheeseburger Chili Mac and Cheese. Over the years, I've made a few changes to the recipe and my kids have renamed it "Cheesy Mac." This is one of my family favorites because everyone really likes it, and it's inexpensive, quick and easy.

This is a great meal for applying scaffolding.  If your children like Hamburger Helper, you can start with my "Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe posted at the bottom of the page. If your children are not fond of Hamburger Helper, start by scaffolding your mac and cheese, and then transition to the Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper, and then each time you make it, add another ingredient from the Cheesy Mac recipe.

Cheesy Mac

1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey or 1/2 lb ground meat and 1/2 can black beans
1 onion, chopped
1 box whole wheat pasta (macaroni noodles or rotini work best)
1 T chili powder
2 T ketchup
1/2 t mustard powder
1 can beef broth (chicken broth can also be substituted)
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
*1/2- 1 cup chopped zucchini (optional)

Brown ground meat and saute onion (and zucchini, if using.) If the meat is lean you will need to add approximately 1 T of olive oil for sauteeing the onion.  Add chili powder, ketchup, and mustard powder. Stir in and saute for about 30 seconds, then add beef broth.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. While meat mixture is simmering, cook whole wheat pasta and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once sauce has thickened, combine sauce and drained pasta in a casserole dish. Mix until all pasta is coated. Then add 3/4-1 cup of shredded cheese and stir it into the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4-1 cup of cheese on top.

Heat in the over until the cheese melts. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes (if your family can wait) and then serve!

Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 box whole wheat pasta
2 T ketchup
1/2 t mustard powder
1 can beef broth
1 1/2- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef, then add 2 T ketchup and 1/2 t mustard powder. Then add 1 can beef broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. While beef mixture is simmering, cook pasta and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cooked, drained, pasta and meat mixture in a casserole dish. Stir in half of the cheese. Top with the other half of the cheese. Heat in preheated oven until cheese is melted.

*This could also be made into a meatless meal by using 1 whole can of black beans (instead of meat) and by substituting vegetable broth.

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