Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Meaty Mac

Meaty Mac

Cooler temps are just around the bend and already I’m in the mood for some gooey comfort food.  The stick-to-yer-ribs type.

This recipe fit the bill splendidly.  Though it surely ain’t sexy, it is totally delicious.  We’re talkin’ perfectly seasoned ground beef folded into creamy, homemade macaroni and cheese and then baked until bubbly.  I kept it simple this time around, but you could easily add sauteed veggies, different spices–whatever your heart desires.  You could also swap in ground chicken or turkey for the beef and a whole grain mac, such as Barilla Plus, for the regular variety.

So next time you’re looking for something cozy–or just a new way to use that ground beef–give this recipe a whirl.  It’s sure to please anyone from your favorite football fan to those angelic children of yours.

Meaty Mac
Serves 6


1 pound extra-lean ground beef
½ -1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground pepper
8 ounces dried macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk, warm
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or another seasoning salt blend)
2 ounces cream cheese
5 ounces grated cheddar, divided

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spritz a 6-cup casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and begin cooking the ground beef.  Once the beef is beginning to brown, add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the chili powder, oregano, onion powder, and ground pepper.  Continue to cook until the meat is completely cooked through.  Taste for seasoning and add the additional kosher salt, if needed.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil and cook your macaroni according to the box’s instructions.  Drain and set aside.  Put your pot back on the stove and melt the butter over medium heat.  Once melted, sprinkle the flour over the butter and then whisk until smooth.  Cook this roux for a couple minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.  Pour about half of the milk into the pot, whisking vigorously to incorporate the roux until smooth.  Pour in the remaining milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until the sauce, known as a bechamel, begins to simmer and thicken.  Once the sauce has thickened, easily coating the back of a spoon, turn the heat down to low and whisk in the 1/2 teaspoon salt, Tony’s, cream cheese, and 4 ounces of grated cheddar.  Whisk until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth.  Add your cooked macaroni to the pot as well as the cooked beef and fold into the sauce.  Dump the whole lot into your 6-cup casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar.

Pop your casserole dish into the preheated oven and bake until bubbly and the cheese topping is melted, 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Nutrition facts per serving (1/6 recipe): 490 calories, 25 g total fat, 13.5 g saturated fat, 36 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 30 g protein

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