12 February 2014

A Riff on Heidi's Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni ... Gluten Free and Good

Dang! This wintery cold makes me yearn for fresh garden greens and sunny days, but all we have these days is snow banks in the yard, the Olympic Games on TV, and comfort food in our bellies. The only bright green is the parsley topping this bowl of homemade 'hamburger helper' cheeseburger macaroni.

My Gawd! A gooey tomato-y mess of steaming lunch that repeated pretty well from last evening's supper. To boot, this is a gluten-free recipe that worked well ... as long as you pay attention to the cooking of the pasta. I have not had any type of gluten free pasta that one can cook as long as the typical semolina pasta products that have glutens. This rotini that I used was simmered in the pan for just five minutes. Then, the cheese sauce was added and the whole mess was warmed in the oven for 20 minutes. Next time, I'll cook the pasta even less, as it softened up a bit too much for my liking by the time the 'bake' was completed.

Really a very passable dish ... this from the 'Queen of Pasta' ...

Give it a try if you need a pasta fix, but can't handle the glutens. Ronzoni makes the pasta that I used ... rotini... to hold the sauce and catch the meat bits. Cornstarch to thicken the cheese sauce. Pay attention to the cheese that you use. Not all cheeses are gluten free. Cabot makes their cheeses with gluten free enzymes, so that's a safe bet.

Here's the recipe that I adapted from Foodie Crush's original recipe ... if you prefer the Foodie Crush recipe, hit the link. Otherwise, this is my take on Heidi's Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni.

Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
slightly adapted from Foodie Crush’s recipe

Makes 6 servings


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. 93% lean hamburger
1 small onion, small dice
2 c. beef broth
1½ c. water
½ c. ketchup
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes with garlic
2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and black pepper
2 ½ c. gluten free pasta – rotini or penne work well
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1½ c. 2% milk
2 c. grated Cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. dry parsley
½ tsp. chili powder

Making the Dish:

  1. Heat a large non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and hamburger, breaking the burger into small pieces and chunks. Brown the burger completely.
  3. Add the onion and continue the sauté until the onion is translucent and most of the meat juices are evaporated.
  4. Add the beef broth and stir well. Stir the ketchup and tomato paste into the water and add it to the broth and meat mix. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the dry pasta and tomatoes and stir everything together. Press the pasta under the liquid and cook uncovered for 4 minutes.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce.
  7. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the cornstarch, stirring to make a roux.
  8. Add the milk and stir until it begins to thicken.
  9. Add the grated cheese and stir to make a smooth sauce.
  10. At the end of four minutes cook time, add the cheese sauce to the macaroni mix.
  11. Turn the whole mess into a casserole pan and sprinkle on the parsley and chili powder.
  12. Pop the casserole into a 375°F oven for 20 minutes.


  1. Comfort food, nothing like it, especially this time of year! I'll bet your home smelled delicious too!

  2. total and utter comfort food... it's like the coming together of comfort food kings and queens... pure genius and yes, I want a bowl right this very second... NOW!!!

  3. Wow, this looks soooo good. I haven't tried any of the gluten free pasta yet. I have bought quinoa pasta for my daughter when she comes home but I am not a fan of that. I do love a casserole though. They are always so homey and filling, More snow today!!!


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