Better than Hamburger Helper

Made this one up with the help of Mr. Meatatarian and his buddy J.

1 lb ground beef

1 lb pasta (I used rigatoni)

1/3 cup flour

4 T butter

2 cups milk

2+ cups cheese

Melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for a few minutes to get the raw flour taste off. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add cheese

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in lightly salted water and brown the ground beef.

Combine it all in a giant bowl and serve with a sprinkle of garlic salt. J and I also added steamed broccoli to our bowls. J also suggests paprika, but we didn’t have any on hand!


Beer & Brown Sugar Kielbasa

Modified slightly from


12 ounces beer (I used Woodchuck hard cider)
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
3 pounds polish kielbasa
1 bag (or jar) sauerkraut (32 ounces), drained


1. Combine the beer and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened; set aside.

2. Cut the kielbasa into links and place in a slow cooker. Cover with the drained sauerkraut. Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over top. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours.

3. Serve on its own or on your favorite sandwich roll.

Notes: I didn’t bother with making a syrup from the cider and sugar, I just dumped everything in the Crock Pot. Cooked on high for about 3 hours then turned it down to low.

Served with boiled potatoes. Mr. Meatatarian picked out the sausages and potatoes and left behind the kraut for me.

Taco Mac and Cheese

Made this up as I went along, after being inspired from a few posts on Pinterest that Mr. Meatatarian deemed to have “too many chunks”

1 box Kraft mac and cheese (mine happened to be spirals)

2 T butter/margarine/butter spread/butter-like-product (or so, I didn’t really measure)

3 T milk (or so, I didn’t really measure)

1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

shredded cheddar cheese


Boil the noodles as directed on the box.

Brown the ground beef and add the taco seasoning pack and a couple spoonfuls of the pasta water.

In a separate bowl, combine the butter, milk, cheese packet, and seasoned ground beef. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the ground beef mixture. Stir in shredded cheddar to taste.

I think this would also benefit from some guacamole and salsa served alongside, but Mr. Meatatarian disagrees.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta

Planning this for dinner tonight, but I predict it will be meatatarian-boyfriend-approved.

Modified from


1 pound mostaccioli or other short pasta (using the elbow macaroni that we have in the cabinet)
6 strips of bacon, diced (will likely use way more than 6)
1 tablespoon butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (planning to use 3, since we’re feeding another couple as well as ourselves)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water; drain, return to pot, and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon drippings from the pan.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add theĀ butter to the reserved bacon drippings, then add the chicken to the same skillet. Cook until tender, no longer pink, and slightly browned.
4. Sprinkle the flour and ranch dressing mix over the chicken, stirring to coat evenly. Stir in the milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cheddar cheese and half of the reserved bacon; cook and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
5. Add the cheese sauce to the reserved pasta and stir to combine. Serve each plate of pasta with more bacon sprinkled over the top. Green onions would also be a delicious topping.