On the Wagon…
Here is one wagon to get onto my friends! My family has this recipe they call ‘Chuck Wagon Mac’ that is so simple yet so tasty at the same time! It is basically a fancier, home-made version of a cheesy hamburger helper. And my favorite part about it is how versatile it is! You can literally add anything you like or change it up any way you like to suit your tastes. I made a version of this Sunday night, with more of a Mexican flair and it turned out to be, well in my opinion at least, the best one yet! I’ll give you the basic recipe first and then the one I made up on Sunday:
Original Chuck Wagon Mac
- Box of macaroni & cheese, prepared
- 1 can tomato paste, with a few tablespoons of water to smooth it out
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 – 1 onion, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish. Cook ground beef with onion, green pepper and celery until cooked through. Mix together with the corn, tomato paste and macaroni and cheese. Pour all together into casserole dish and bake 45 minutes – 1 hour, until heated through.
Honestly, how simple is that?! And this variation alone is incredibly delicious, it used to be a favorite of mine growing up! (I must admit though, I’ve never made this using a boxed mac & cheese, I always make my own or at least do my own with chopped up velveeta and butter)! But it is good even with the box! I just like to have control of the amount of cheese, since I loooove cheese and am able to add as much as I want!!
Mexican Chuck Wagon Mac
- 1 lb elbow macaroni, shells, rotini, whatever
- 20 ounces velveeta cheese, cubed (at least 20 ounces)!
- 3-5 T butter (add as much or as little as you’d like to reach desired creaminess…you can use milk instead or also but butter gives a much better flavor)!
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (I kept the ribs and seeds because we love spice)!
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 – 2 T cumin
- 1 can corn, drained
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, pureed in food processor to make tomato sauce
- 1 small can diced tomatoes and green chiles
- bag of shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a casserole dish or 9X13 pan. Cook pasta to al dente. While cooking, cook ground beef with onion, peppers, celery and cumin until cooked through. Drain if necessary. Once the pasta is cooked almost through, drain and add back to the pan with the velveeta and butter. Stir over low heat until velveeta is melted. Mix everything together, with a cup of the shredded cheddar and put in casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheddar and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
I really liked the spice the jalapeno added and the flavor the cumin added! I think this combination worked great and am going to try more and more…after all, ground beef with mac and cheese could never get old in my book! Hell, mac and cheese with anything will never get old, Josh and I still eat it at least once a week, but usually a few times a week! Enjoy and let me know of any variations you guys try out and like or dislike!
Also, on a side note, I posted about home-made pasta we tried the other day and how well it turned out. Not surprising, I’ve been playing around with it and have made home-made noodles a few times now and Friday we made our own lasagna noodles and they were amazing! And the entire process took less than 45 minutes, including the 30 minutes for the dough to rest! I highly suggest giving your own a shot, it was much easier and tastier than I imagined it would be!