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Revamping the Friday Night Cheeseburger

Well, it is officially 2012, and I’m sure many of you have dived right into your new year’s resolutions. Personally, I have a few resolutions but they are probably a bit more unconventional than most people’s. One of the goals I have set for myself for 2012 is to make my dinnertime a little more exciting. Like many of you I’m sure, I am a creature of habit. Friday nights are usually our "date nights," where we allow ourselves to splurge a bit and go out for dinner. Our standard Friday night fare usually consists of either sushi, or a big, juicy cheeseburger. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with tradition, but I figure it wouldn’t hurt to branch out a little bit.

When we developed the recipe for Cheeseburger Mac in the Test Kitchens, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Hamburger, ketchup, mustard and pickles….in my mac and cheese?? But I tried it anyway (last year’s resolution was to be more open to new things) and to my surprise, I loved it. It actually tastes like a cheeseburger! You’re just going to have to trust me on this one! If you like cheeseburgers, you have to try this recipe.

Start by cooking the pasta. Since I like to live on the wild side, I switched up my pasta shape. Big, curly noodles, such as cavatappi, have always been my favorite for mac and cheese dishes.

Now cook the ground beef in a large skillet.

Make sure to drain the extra fat. No one wants it this time of year!

Combine the half & half, cheese, ketchup and mustard in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally, until the cheese is smooth and melted.

Stir in the cooked pasta and ground beef…

...and the pickles (yes, pickles) and onions until the mixture is heated through.

Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving - this will help the sauce thicken up a little bit and get nice and "ooey gooey" like every good mac and cheese should be.

We happened to have company the night I made this - my sister and her boyfriend, Lucas, are quite the connoisseurs of mac and cheese, and this one definitely got their seal of approval. Ellyn said, and I quote, "This is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had!"

If you love a good cheeseburger, you’ll appreciate this Cheeseburger Mac. Give it a try for your next Friday night meal and make sure to come back and let me know what you thought of it.

Looking for a new Saturday morning breakfast tradition? Come back in a few days when Emily will share a fun breakfast idea that the whole family will love.

Mallory is a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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