Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Creamy Monterey Jack cheese, tangy diced green chiles, and a little earthy cumin make this green chile mac and cheese anything but ordinary!

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Green Chile Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that if a restaurant has it on the menu, I’m 100% going to order it. There’s just something about that green chile flavor paired with creamy cheese that I can’t get enough of. So why, in green chile heaven, had I not made it myself at home yet?? It was time to fix that. ;)

overhead view of green chile mac and cheese in a bowl with a fork on the side

Green Chile Mac: The Long Way and The Short Way

There are a few ways you can go about making green chile mac, but they all fall into two categories: the long way or the short way. The long way means buying fresh hatch chile peppers and roasting them yourself before adding them to your mac and cheese. This will definitely get you the most delicious and smokey green chile flavor, but in most of the U.S. fresh hatch chiles aren’t readily available year-round.

So I decided to make my green chile mac and cheese the short way, using canned green chiles. It’s fast, easy, and still gets you a good amount of that green chile flavor! And that’s more my style (most nights of the week, anyway).

Is it Spicy?

Green chiles can be spicy or mild. If you can’t handle the heat, make sure to look for a canned green chile that specifically says “mild” on the label. The recipe below also includes a pinch of crushed red pepper and while that ingredient can be spicy, it’s in such a small quantity in the recipe that it will not add a significant amount of heat to your green chile mac and cheese.

What Kind of Cheese is Best for Green Chile Mac and Cheese?

For macaroni and cheese in general, you want something that melts smoothly instead of stringy. Cheeses in the cheddar family melt smoothly, while mozzarella is a good example of a stringy cheese. To go with the green chile and cumin flavors in this dish, I recommend going with either a white cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a pepper jack if you want your mac to be a little spicier.

How Are the Leftovers?

Cheese sauces are usually a lot better when fresh compared to after refrigeration and reheating, but I still enjoyed the leftovers of this green chile mac and cheese quite a bit! While the cheese sauce wasn’t quite as smooth and saucy, the green chile flavor does intensify as it refrigerates, which added to the enjoyment.

What to Serve with Green Chile Mac

I wouldn’t be opposed to sitting down to a large bowl of this as my whole meal, but it’s probably best used as a side dish. I’d serve this macaroni and cheese as a side to something like Turkey Taco Skillet, Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas, or Smoky Black Bean Soup.

Overhead view of a pot full of green chile mac and cheese
Overhead view of a bowl full of green chile mac and cheese

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Creamy Monterey Jack cheese, tangy diced green chiles, and a little earthy cumin make this green chile mac and cheese anything but ordinary!
Total Cost $5.00 recipe / $1.25 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 571kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. macaroni $0.50
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.82
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $1.69
  • 2 4oz. cans diced green chiles $1.78
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add the macaroni and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the green chile cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a saucepot and cook over medium heat while stirring for about 2 minutes.
  • Whisk the milk into the cooked butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk and cook over medium heat until the milk begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken to a cream-like consistency.
  • Turn the heat off. Begin stirring in the shredded Monterey Jack cheese, one handful at a time, until fully melted into the sauce.
  • Drain the canned green chiles and stir them into the cheese sauce along with the cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Make sure it is heavily seasoned as the flavor will dilute slightly when mixed with the pasta.
  • Finally, combine the cooked and drained pasta with the green chile cheese sauce. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 779mg | Fiber: 3g
side view of a fork lifting green chile mac and cheese from the bowl

How to Make Green Chile Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Cooked macaroni in a colander

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add 1/2 lb. macaroni and continue to boil until the macaroni is tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the macaroni in a colander.

butter and flour being whisked in a saucepot

While the macaroni is cooking, begin the cheese sauce. Add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to a sauce pot. Cook over medium while stirring for about 2 minutes.

milk being poured into the pot with butter and flour

Whisk 2 cups whole milk into the saucepot with the butter and flour. Continue to cook and whisk over medium heat until the milk comes up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. It should thicken to the consistency of cream.

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese added to the saucepot

Turn off the heat and begin stirring in the 8oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese, one handful at a time, until it is all melted into the sauce.

green chiles and spices added to the cheese sauce

Drain two 4oz. cans of diced green chiles, then add them to the cheese sauce along with ½ tsp cumin, ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine, then taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your liking if needed. The sauce should taste heavily seasoned as the flavor will dilute a bit when mixed with the pasta.

Cheese sauce being poured over the drained pasta

Finally, combine the cooked and drained pasta with the green chile cheese sauce.

finished green chile mac in a pot with a spatula

Serve and enjoy while it’s hot and creamy!

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Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Skewers

Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Skewers, layered with summer peaches, tomatoes, and sourdough bread, finished with balsamic and fresh basil. Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Skewers Panzanella is a traditional Italian bread salad, where cubes of (usually stale) bread add some heft to fresh summer vegetables at peak ripeness. Here, the bread is more of a background player with […]

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Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Skewers, layered with summer peaches, tomatoes, and sourdough bread, finished with balsamic and fresh basil.

Shrimp Panzanella Skewers
Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Skewers

Panzanella is a traditional Italian bread salad, where cubes of (usually stale) bread add some heft to fresh summer vegetables at peak ripeness. Here, the bread is more of a background player with its crunchiness providing a great counterpoint to the juicy, sweet grilled fruit and shrimp. More grilled shrimp skewers you will love are these Grilled Shrimp Scampi Skewers and Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers.

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Ground Turkey Skillet with Zucchini, Corn, Black Beans and Tomato

This quick, one-pot Ground Turkey Skillet with zucchini, corn, tomatoes, and black beans is great for weeknight dinner or meal prep! Ground Turkey Skillet I just love an easy weeknight recipe you can whip up all in one skillet. This dish has all the flavors of summer with fresh zucchini, corn, and tomato. It’s a […]

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This quick, one-pot Ground Turkey Skillet with zucchini, corn, tomatoes, and black beans is great for weeknight dinner or meal prep!

Ground Turkey with Zucchini, Corn, Black Beans and Tomatoes in a skillet.
Ground Turkey Skillet

I just love an easy weeknight recipe you can whip up all in one skillet. This dish has all the flavors of summer with fresh zucchini, corn, and tomato. It’s a full meal in one – although if you wish, you can serve it with a grain. This ground turkey skillet is inspired by my Santa Fe Stuffed Zucchini but simplifiedand cooked in under 20 minutes. More of my favorite skillet recipes to try are this Beef Picadillo Recipe and this Cheesy Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Skillet.

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Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp “cook” in lime juice to make this flavorful Shrimp Ceviche, with fresh cilantro, cucumbers and jalapeño. The perfect summer appetizer! Shrimp Ceviche This ceviche recipe is an incredibly easy dish that is sure to impress. Plus, no oven or stove is needed, making it perfect for summer. Just combine the shrimp with the onion, […]

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Shrimp “cook” in lime juice to make this flavorful Shrimp Ceviche, with fresh cilantro, cucumbers and jalapeño. The perfect summer appetizer!

Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche

This ceviche recipe is an incredibly easy dish that is sure to impress. Plus, no oven or stove is needed, making it perfect for summer. Just combine the shrimp with the onion, lime juice, and salt for 20 minutes, and then add in the other veggies. That’s it! Serve with tortilla chips for a delicious appetizer for your beach house, boat or backyard. Some more of my ceviche inspired recipes are this Ceviche Shrimp CocktailCanned Tuna Ceviche, Vegan Mushroom Ceviche, and Ceviche Cucumber Cups.

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Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans)

Arroz Congri is a Cuban black beans and rice dish using canned black beans that can be served as a side dish or meatless main dish. Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans) The aroma that fills your kitchen while cooking this Cuban rice and black beans dish will make you want to pump up […]

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Arroz Congri is a Cuban black beans and rice dish using canned black beans that can be served as a side dish or meatless main dish.

Cuban rice and black beans
Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans)

The aroma that fills your kitchen while cooking this Cuban rice and black beans dish will make you want to pump up the salsa music and grab a mojito! You cans enjoy this as a vegetarian main dish with a salad, or as a side with steak, Cubano Chicken Chicken Sabroso or for pork options try Garlicky Pork or Slow Cooked Pernil. More Latin recipe dishes you must try my favorite, Arroz Con Pollo!

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Pizza Melts

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They’re fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!

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What do you get when a grilled cheese and a pepperoni pizza have a baby? A PIZZA MELT! (Sorry for yelling, I’m excited.) I used to eat these as an after-school snack when I was growing up because they’re super easy and who doesn’t want pizza? But now, decades later, I took this pizza-inspired sandwich to the next level by adding an herby-Parmesan butter to the bread which creates an extra crispy finish. It’s to die for and way better than the pizza melts of my teen years. You’ve got to try it!

A stack of pizza melts cut in half on a plate against a blue background

What Kind of Bread To Use for Pizza Melts

You definitely want to use some sort of sturdy bread for your pizza melt. If you try to use a soft white sandwich bread it just won’t hold up to the moisture in the pizza sauce. I used a sourdough loaf, which gave my pizza melts even more flavor. Something like a rosemary olive oil bread or some homemade focaccia would also be amazing. Just make sure the bread is strong!

What Else Can You Put on a Pizza Melt?

A pizza melt, even in its most basic form (pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni), is awesome, but if you happen to have some leftover ingredients on hand and you want to throw them on there, go for it! Here are a few ideas:

  • Diced bell pepper
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Bacon bits
  • Ham
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Feta cheese
  • Banana peppers
  • Sun dried tomatoes

I would caution against using any ingredient that is very wet, like fresh tomatoes or canned artichoke hearts, since this can make the bread soggy.

Use Medium-Low Heat for the Perfect Grilled Cheese

Making a grilled cheese with a perfectly browned exterior and melty-cheesy interior can take a little practice. My trick is to cook over a slightly lower heat. This gives the inside time to warm up before the outside gets too brown or burns. It might take a little more patience, but you’ll get the most perfectly delicious grilled cheese. …or pizza melt. :)

cut open pizza melt being held close to the camera
A stack of pizza melts, cut sides facing camera

Pizza Melt

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They're fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!
Total Cost $1.11 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 451kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.11
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 2 slices hearty bread $0.44
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella $0.19
  • 1 Tbsp pizza sauce $0.06
  • 6 slices pepperoni $0.15

Instructions

  • Stir together the room temperature butter, grated parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl until evenly combined. Spread the Parmesan butter over one side of each slice of bread.
  • Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up. Place half of the shredded mozzarella on one slice of bread. Next, add small dollops of the sauce over top of the cheese, followed by the sliced pepperoni. Finally, add the remaining cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top to close the sandwich, butter side facing out.
  • Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted on the inside. Cut the sandwich in half and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 991mg | Fiber: 3g
Two pizza melts on a plates with bread, sauce, and cheese on the sides

How to Make a Pizza Melt – Step by Step Photos

Herby Parmesan butter in a bowl

Combine 1 Tbsp room temperature butter with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan, and ½ tsp Italian seasoning. Mix them together until they form a paste.

Buttered bread on a cutting board

Spread the Parmesan butter over one side each slice of bread.

Cheese and pizza sauce added to the bread

Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up, then top one slice with ½ of the ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella. Add about 1 Tbsp pizza sauce in small dollops over the cheese (that helps make a barrier so the sauce doesn’t soak into the bread and make it too soggy).

pepperoni and cheese added to the sandwich

Next add about six slices of pepperoni, and then top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Place the second slice of bread on top, buttered side facing out.

pizza melt cooking in a skillet

Cook the pizza melt in a skillet over medium-low heat until it’s golden brown and crispy on both sides and the cheese inside is melted.

pizza melt cut in half on a cutting board

Cut the pizza melt in half and enjoy!

a pizza melt sandwich on a plate with ingredients on the sides

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Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad

This Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad is the answer if you’re not a fan of mayonnaise and love a cold tuna pasta salad for lunch on a hot summer day. Mayo-Less Tuna Pasta Salad This healthy tuna salad is more green salad than pasta salad as you use only one cup of pasta but two cups […]

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This Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad is the answer if you’re not a fan of mayonnaise and love a cold tuna pasta salad for lunch on a hot summer day.

Cold Tuna Pasta Salad
Mayo-Less Tuna Pasta Salad

This healthy tuna salad is more green salad than pasta salad as you use only one cup of pasta but two cups of arugula. It has almost 25 grams of protein, making it excellent for a light lunch. Delicious, satisfying, and perfect for lunch – it’s tuna salad all grown up!  Some more canned tuna salad recipes you may like are Chickpea Tuna Salad, Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno), and Canned Tuna Ceviche.

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Shrimp Egg Rolls (Air Fryer or Baked)

Easy Shrimp Egg Rolls inspired by my favorite Chinese take-out only healthier, loaded with shrimp in every bite. Air fryer or baked! Shrimp Egg Rolls I love cooking egg rolls in the air fryer because skipping the frying means they are healthier and lighter (see all my air fryer recipes here). If you don’t have […]

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Easy Shrimp Egg Rolls inspired by my favorite Chinese take-out only healthier, loaded with shrimp in every bite. Air fryer or baked!

Air Fryer Shrimp Egg Rolls
Shrimp Egg Rolls

I love cooking egg rolls in the air fryer because skipping the frying means they are healthier and lighter (see all my air fryer recipes here). If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also bake them. They’re so easy to make and taste so good! Serve them with a dipping sauce, like sweet chili sauce, duck sauce, or spicy mustard if you wish. If you want to do a homemade takeout “fakeout” night, these egg rolls would be delicious with fried rice, General Tso’s chicken, or orange chicken.

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Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet

This beef and cauliflower taco skillet has layers of flavor, color, and texture, and all of your favorite taco flavors in one hearty bowl.

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A couple of months ago I posted a side dish, Southwest Cauliflower Rice, and ever since I’ve been dying to flesh it out into a main dish. This week I finally got around to it, and OMG, so good! I added some ground beef, black beans, and a bunch of fresh ingredients on top, so you get this wonderful mix of hot and cold flavors and textures, kind of like when you eat a taco, but in bowl form.

Overhead view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet with vegetables on the side and a spatula in the side

Is it Spicy?

The heat level in this recipe depends on the spiciness of two ingredients: the canned diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Ro-tel) and your chili powder. Unfortunately, with both of these ingredients, some brands are spicy and some are not. So you may need to do some experimenting to find the brands that match the heat level that you prefer.

Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower Rice?

You can use either fresh homemade cauliflower rice or frozen store-bought cauliflower rice for this recipe. Both types of riced cauliflower cook very quickly and you shouldn’t need to make any changes to the recipe based on the type of cauliflower rice used.

Take the Taco Seasoning Short Cut

The recipe below includes all the herbs and spices in my homemade taco seasoning. If you don’t have a well stocked spice cabinet, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning in place of the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper listed in the recipe below.

Other Topping Ideas

This recipe is so flexible! If you don’t like some of the toppings that I used, here are some other ideas:

Make it Low Carb or Vegetarian

If you want to make this tasty skillet low-carb, you can skip the black beans and use a full pound of ground beef instead.

If you want to make this taco skillet vegetarian, add an extra can of beans in place of the ground beef. You can use an extra can of black beans, or add a can of pinto or kidney beans.

Close up side view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet being scooped out of the skillet
overhead view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet with vegetables on the sides

Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet

This beef and cauliflower taco skillet has layers of flavor, color, and texture, and all of your favorite taco flavors in one hearty bowl.
Total Cost $7.74 recipe . /$1.94 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 467kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 3 cups riced cauliflower $1.25
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles $0.55
  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.50
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $0.38
  • 1 avocado $0.99
  • 1 tomato $0.46
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion $0.10
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro $0.10

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, and ground beef to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the ground beef is browned. If you're using a high fat content beef, you may want to drain off the excess fat before the next step.
  • Drain the can of black beans and add them to the skillet along with the diced tomatoes with green chiles (not drained), chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until the skillet is simmering.
  • Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet (no need to thaw, if frozen). Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender (about five minutes).
  • While the beef and cauliflower are heating, dice the tomato, avocado, and red onion. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Top the beef and cauliflower mixture with the shredded cheddar. Place a lid on the skillet, and let it heat over medium for a few minutes, or until the cheddar has melted.
  • Once the cheese is melted, top the skillet with the tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 360mg | Fiber: 14g
beef and cauliflower taco skillet in a bowl with a fork on the side

How to Make Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet – Step by Step Photos

browned ground beef in a skillet

Mince two cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil and ½ lb. ground beef. Cook over medium heat until the ground beef is browned.

Tomatoes, beans, and seasoning added to the skillet

Drain one 15oz. can of black beans and add them to the skillet along with one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (not drained), 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Continue to cook and stir until the skillet is simmering.

Frozen riced cauliflower added to the skillet.

Add 3 cups riced cauliflower to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the riced cauliflower is tender (about 5 minutes).

Diced tomato, avocado, and onion

While the cauliflower and beef are heating, dice one tomato and one avocado. Finely dice about ¼ cup red onion. Roughly chop one small handful of cilantro.

Shredded cheddar being added to the skillet

Top the skillet with 2 oz. (about ½ cup) shredded cheddar cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and let it heat over medium for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

skillet topped with fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro

Once the cheese is melted, top with the fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro, then serve!

A fork lifting a bite of beef and cauliflower taco skillet out of a bowl

That’s one FLAVORFUL bowl!!

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Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

Y’all know I love to get creative with flavors, but every once in a while I get in the mood for straight-up American comfort food, like cheeseburgers. When that craving hit this week I decided to make a cheeseburger flavored pasta, which gives me all that cheeseburger flavor with a lot less actual burger. Because […]

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Y’all know I love to get creative with flavors, but every once in a while I get in the mood for straight-up American comfort food, like cheeseburgers. When that craving hit this week I decided to make a cheeseburger flavored pasta, which gives me all that cheeseburger flavor with a lot less actual burger. Because when meat is one of the most expensive items at the grocery store you have to streeeeeeeeetch it any way you can. This  Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet does just that. If you loved Hamburger Helper when you were growing up, you’re going to love this homemade version even more!

Originally posted 4-27-2016, updated 5-29-2021.

Overhead view of cheeseburger pasta skillet in the pan with a spatula in the side

Hot Dog Relish is the Secret Ingredient

This cheeseburger pasta is super good even without the relish, but adding a couple spoonfuls of hotdog relish at the end really makes it taste like you’re eating a hamburger. What is hot dog relish? It’s basically a dill pickle relish mixed with yellow mustard. If you can’t find hot dog relish at your grocery store, you can buy plain dill relish and mix a little yellow mustard into it (about a teaspoon). 

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pasta

Cooking one pot pasta recipes is a little bit like riding a bike. You have to watch it and adjust to the nuances of the pasta as it cooks, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Here are a few tips:

  • Use heavy, thick cookware to help the ingredients heat evenly.
  • Use a burner size close to the size of the bottom of your pot for even heating.
  • The broth does not need to fully cover the pasta for it to cook, so resist the urge to add extra water or broth.
  • Make sure the liquid is simmering the whole time the pasta is cooking. If the heat is too low, the pasta will just get gummy.
  • Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking, but not too often or your risk breaking down the pasta.
  • Use your judgment. If your pasta looks close to being cooked through, but there is too much liquid left in the skillet, let it finish simmering with the lid off. If the liquid is gone but your pasta is still not tender, add a splash more water or broth and continue to simmer.

How to Serve Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta

I’m usually all about stuffing my recipes with as many vegetables as possible, but I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate more vegetables into this recipe without making it less hamburger-like, so I’m just going to suggest you serve it with a simple side salad. Nothing fancy, maybe just some Romaine, tomatoes, and dressing. Keep it easy. :) And maybe Homemade Garlic Bread. Because every meal is better with garlic bread. ;)

Freeze Some For Later

Saucy pasta dishes like this freezer pretty well, IMHO, so if you’re cooking for yourself this would make a good cook-and-freeze-for-later dish. If you’re extra sensitive to texture changes like pasta getting slightly softer, though, you may not be a fan of the leftovers.

Overhead view of cheeseburger pasta in a bowl with a fork on the side

Close up of cheeseburger pasta skillet being scooped out with a spoon

Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet is a fast and easy homemade version of hamburger helper that cooks all in one pot for easy cleanup!
Total Cost $5.03 recipe / $1.26 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 555kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.29
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.26
  • 1/2 lb. pasta shells, uncooked $0.50
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $0.75
  • 2 Tbsp hot dog relish $0.16
  • 2 green onions, sliced (optional) $0.20

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion. Add the onion, olive oil, and ground beef to a large deep skillet and sauté over medium heat until the beef is fully browned and the onion is soft and translucent. Drain off any excess fat, if needed.
  • Add the flour to the skillet and continue to stir and cook for one minute more. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the skillet. Be careful not to let the flour burn.
  • Add the tomato sauce and beef broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the flour off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. The liquid in the skillet may not fully cover the pasta, but that is okay.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the liquid come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir to loosen any pasta from the bottom of the skillet, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low. Let the pasta simmer, stirring occasionally (always replacing the lid), for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off.
  • Add the shredded cheddar to the skillet and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Stir the hot dog relish into the sauce and then top with sliced green onions. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1045mg | Fiber: 4g

If you love easy one pot pasta dinners, check out our One Pot Meals category!

Close up of cheeseburger pasta skillet being scooped out with a spoon

How to Make Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Ground beef and onion cooked in the skillet

Start by finely dicing one onion. Add the onion, 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large deep skillet. Sauté the onion and beef until the beef is fully browned and the onions are soft and translucent. Drain off any excess fat, if needed (if you’re using 90% lean or higher, there probably isn’t anything to be drained off).

Flour added to the cooked ground beef

Add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the skillet and continue to stir and cook for one minute. The flour will bein to coat the bottom of the skillet. This is okay, just be sure to watch it closely and not let it burn. The flour will help thicken the sauce and help the cheese melt smoothly into the sauce.

Tomato sauce in the skillet, beef broth being poured in

Add an 8oz. can of tomato sauce and 2 cups beef broth. Stir to dissolve the flour off the bottom of the skillet.

Uncooked pasta shells added to the skillet

Add ½ lb. uncooked pasta shells to the skillet and stir to combine. The liquid in the skillet does NOT need to fully cover the pasta for it to cook. The steam in the skillet will help cook the pasta that is above the surface and the pasta will be stirred to ensure even cooking.

Cooked pasta in the skillet a spatula pulling the pasta aside to show the sauce

Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the liquid to come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir to loosen any pasta from the bottom of the skillet, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer, stirring occasionally (always replacing the lid), for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off.

Shredded cheddar added to the skillet

Add 4oz. shredded cheddar cheese and stir it into the pasta until it is melted and creamy.

hot dog relish added to the skillet

Finally, add 2 Tbsp of hot dog relish (mustard dill relish), and stir it into the sauce. I feel like the relish is what really made this taste like a hamburger, but if you’re not into relish you skip this last step and still have an amazingly cheesy beef pasta. 

cheeseburger pasta skillet topped with sliced green onions

I had some green onions in the fridge, so I sliced a couple up and added them on top. They add just a little extra pop of flavor and nice visual appeal to the otherwise very monochromatic dish.

Close up side view of cheeseburger pasta skillet with a spoon dug in the side

OMG look at that cheesy sauce! 😍

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta is a fast and easy "from scratch" version of the classic hamburger helper. BudgetBytes.com

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