Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheeseburger Casserole

The other day I was really, really craving a McDonald's cheeseburger. Alas, I don't live within walking distance of one, and also I'm usually too cheap to buy fast food. So, instead, I made this casserole! If I did it again, I think I'd leave out the tomato liquid, put a bit less cheese, and maybe half the pickle. But as it was it turned out delicious! This makes one really large serving, or 2 smaller ones.

1/4 pound of extra-lean hamburger
30g whole-wheat macaroni
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese and 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons diced onion
398ml can of oven-roasted diced tomatoes
1 dill pickle, diced

you'll also need:
individual-sized casserole dish
small pot of salted water
pasta strainer
small non-stick frying pan with high sides
baking sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup (optional)
bowl lined with paper towels
cooking spray
heat-proof spoon
slotted spoon
measuring cup and whisk

1. preheat the oven to 425F. Bring the pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain it, and rinse it with cold water until cool. Put it back in the pot.
2. meanwhile, cook the hamburger in the frying pan over medium heat until it's browned. Remove it from the pan with the slotted spoon and leave it to drain on paper towels. Leave any splatters of fat in the pan.
3. in the pan, cook the diced onion until it's just starting to brown. In the measuring cup, whisk together the milk, flour, salt and pepper. Pour it into the pan, increase the heat to high, and bring it just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. If any skin forms up the side of the pan, leave it there: do not scrape it off and add it to the sauce.

4. once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to minimum, and add the 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese. Stir until completely melted: the sauce will be very thick. Remove it from the heat.
5. add the cooked hamburger to the pot with the pasta, and pour in the sauce. Mix everything together well.
6. spray the casserole dish with cooking spray, and put in about 3 tablespoons of the tomatoes. Add half the meat and pasta mixture, 1/2 the diced pickle, and about 4 tablespoons of the tomato. On top of that, layer the rest of the hamburger and pasta, the rest of the pickle, and the remaining tomatoes. Top the casserole with the remaining 3 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese.
7. bake the casserole in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to form a crust. Remove it from the oven and let it rest a few minutes before eating.

I made this recipe up.

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