Since I've already admitted that I have a fondness for Velveeta, it probably won't surprise you that I also am partial to Hamburger Helper. Back in the day, hamburger was pretty much the cheapest beef you could find. And there weren't all these fancy variations...no sirloin, no percent fats...you just went to the grocery store and bought a package of hamburger out of the meat counter. Wrapped in plastic on a white plastic plate. And for a single working mother with me as her daughter (meaning feed me now Mom), my Mom didn't have a lot of time to spend fixing dinner once she came home every night. Variations of Hamburger Helper made regular appearances on our kitchen table. By far my favorite (and my Moms) was the Cheeseburger Macaroni version.
A while back I asked my Mom what dish she wanted me to make out of the Velveeta Incredibly Easy Recipes cookbook and she chose this Cheeseburger Mac. We both figured it would be close to our beloved Hamburger Helper version, and while it was good, it certainly didn't match up. Both my Mom and I thought it was too sweet. I'm thinking it was because I used some organic ketchup from Trader Joes that tends to be sweeter than normal. Or maybe because the Velveeta had a heart attack when it came in contact with something organic and real. Didn't make it inedible, but it just didn't have the Hamburger Helper flavor we were looking for. Mr. L, who is not really a Hamburger Helper connoisseur, had no problem finishing off his portion.
This is super quick to put together since you don't have to boil the macaroni separately.
VELVEETA CHEESEBURGER MAC
(Velveeta Incredibly Easy Recipes)
1 pound ground beef
2 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp. onion powder
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/2 pound (8 ounces) Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Brown meat in a large skillet; drain.
Add water, ketchup and onion powder mix well. Bring to boil. Stir in macaroni; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 8 to 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
Stir in Velveeta; cook until melted, stirring occasionally.
Makes six servings.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with a cooked crisp green vegetable, such as broccoli.
NOTE: I figure I need to taste test some ketchup's to find one that might have less of a sweet taste when I'm cooking with it (I'm not a fan of ketchup...don't dunk my fries in it, don't put it on hamburgers or hot dogs).
NOTE: Even though I'm sure this would be way salty for some folks, I added additional salt (I do that to my Hamburger Helpers too so the sodium goes through the roof).
NOTE: This wasn't extremely cheesy. I think you could get away with adding a bit more Velveeta though you might need to cook it a bit longer so it's not soupy.
NOTE: You could always try adding the Mexican Velveeta for a change of pace.
NOTE: This reheats very well.
Will I make this again? Probably not. I think it maybe be kind of like those donut hamburgers...try it once and then move on to something different. There are plenty of other Velveeta recipes to try and if I have a hankering for something like this I can always just buy a box of Hamburger Helper (and I did make Mom some of her beloved Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni before she passed away and she far and away liked it better than the Velveeta version).