Amish cooks are known for their hearty, comfort food served in large portions to keep the body going while doing all that manual labor around the farm.
I’ve taken liberties with an Amish recipe and tweaked it for my family’s tastes and preferences and present to you Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole. Since my family is considerably smaller than what our imaginary Amish housewife is feeding, I don’t need to stretch my casserole as far as she does. My family prefers a higher meat to macaroni ratio than what a frugal Amish housewife would have approved, so I cut the elbow macaroni in half and increased the amount of ground chuck in the recipe.
Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole
¾ cup of diced onions
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 ½ pounds ground chuck 80%/20% mix
8 oz. or ½ of a 1 pound box of elbow macaroni
28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt, pepper to your family’s taste
Cook the diced onions in the olive oil in a very large skillet or dutch oven until translucent, add the ground chuck and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain as much of the grease as you can. Season generously with the salt, pepper, teaspoon of smoked paprika, and add the garlic. Pour in the petite diced tomatoes including the juice in the can. Simmer on low for approximately an hour.
Meanwhile, cook the elbow macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Add the drained elbow macaroni to the meat and tomato mixture after it has simmered for one hour. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
Pour the mixture into a 9” x 13” pan.
At this point, cover the top with the 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and cook in a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until the top is bubbling and yummy.
If your family likes things a little spicy, you could add half a package of taco seasonings to the ground beef after draining the grease. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!