Cheesy Beefy Macaroni Skillet

Cheesy Beefy Macaroni Skillet

I am in a bit of a kitchen rut. Everyone in my house has an opinion about what they do or do not want  and frankly they are becoming boring to cook for.

© 2012 Workman Publishing

Yesterday, I was making ham and cheese egg muffins for a late breakfast. Both kids had already eaten cereal so I was making them just for my husband and me.

Until the kids smelled them from upstairs.

Then one boy wanted one. Then the other boy said maybe he was hungry and would have a sandwich, too. But no egg. Just peanut butter and jelly – on burnt toast. The other wanted just egg on not burnt preferably toasted but not browned toast.

Here are their sandwiches.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Here are their complaints:

Sandwich 1

  1. Toast is too dark.
  2. Wanted egg on one piece of toast folded.
  3. Too much pepper, next time would like about 10 specks of pepper on egg.

Sandwich 2

  1. Toast is not burnt enough.
  2. Did not want strawberry jam as it has big gooey chunks and would prefer the blueberry jam we have been out of for three weeks.
  3. Likes bread with seeds in the bread but not on the top crust, which is typically cut off anyway and should not matter but somehow does.

So perhaps you can understand that I have become obsessed with reading other peoples’ menu plans. I am impressed with the variety and the often very time-consuming-mess-making recipes.

As much as I love to cook, there are days that I just want quick and easy and the best way I know to do that is to keep a well stocked kitchen and have a couple of meals in your repertoire that most of your family will at least suffer through silently and can be thrown together in about 20 minutes.

This is one of those meals – although in my house I do have to scoop a portion of the meat mixture out for my non noodle eater prior to adding the pasta.

Cheesy Beefy Macaroni Skillet © 2012 Workman Publishing

One Skillet Cheesy Beef & Macaroni

Recipe by Katie Workman


  • 1 pound lean ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork
  • 1 tablespoon oil – I typically use grapeseed oil and LOVE it in all applications – here’s why
  • 1 chopped red, yellow, orange, or green bell pepper (about 1⁄4-inch pieces)
  • ½ cup peeled chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in juice (you can also use stewed or diced or whatever you have on hand – a quick date with an immersion blender works if you have chunk avoidant kids)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (optional but recommended)
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a large covered skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown it and drain. Set meat aside.
  2. Wipe out the skillet, add the oil, and heat it over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, carrots, onion, and garlic and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Return the beef to the skillet and add the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and 1 cup of water. Increase the heat and bring up to a gentle boil and add the pasta. Stir and cover the skillet then reduce the heat. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until pasta is cooked. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Sprinkle the cheddar on top, then cover the skillet and cook until the cheese is melty, about 1 minute. Serve this right out of the skillet.

© 2012 Workman Publishing

Slightly adapted from The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket, by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing)

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