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My kids have loved Beefaroni since they were in high chairs. It all started with those tasty toddler meals. But over time, their eyes (and tastes) turned toward the more layered flavors of Chef Boyardee.
Now, while I have nothing against this quick and easy meal in a can, I felt Beefaroni could be better. It had such potential to be more appetizing and healthy. So, I set out to make a recipe that was all these things, and would appeal to those of us in the house over the age of 12.
I took the basics of macaroni, ground beef, and tomato sauce and built a tasty, healthier version. This recipe includes fresh veggies, and some subtle herbs and spices to give the dish more depth.
I don’t mind telling you, it was a huge success. The kids loved the zesty flavors, the adults appreciated the healthy dose of nostalgia, and I loved that it’s a quick and easy midweek meal. This recipe for Beefaroni is also great as leftovers for lunch.
Though Chef Hector Boiardi (Chef Boyardee) is given credit for the first canned production of Beefaroni, the meaty pasta was around long before that. In fact, it has many aliases, including American Goulash, American Chop Suey, and Slumgullion.
It’s believed that the tomato based version we know today evolved from a recipe that appeared in a 1916 Army cookbook. It called for beef and rice covered with BBQ sauce.
Through the years, Beefaroni has taken on many forms, and is able to adapt to a variety of tastes and dietary needs.
Why You’ll Love Homemade Beefaroni
- Super easy to make
- Customize it to your taste
- Quick (ready in less than 30 minutes)
- Kid and adult-friendly
- Let the pot sit for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to thicken.
- Definitely use any homemade, leftover sauce you may have. It will add even more unique flavors to your delicious dish.
- Elbow macaroni
- Ground beef
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning
- cheese (your choice)
How To Make Beefaroni
First things first, wash off your veggies, then grate the carrot and chop up the onion.
Get the water ready for the macaroni. Throw it in when the water is boiling.
Then, toss your ground beef in the pot along with the onion and carrot. Break up the beef and swirl around until it’s browned through.
Next, add the seasonings and mix well.
Add in the tomato sauce and Worcestershire, stir it together well, add the tomato paste. You can add more if you prefer a thicker sauce.
Let it simmer until it’s nice and bubbly. Give it a taste and add whatever you think it needs.
Add the macaroni to the mix and top with some cheese.
One of the things I love about Beefaroni is that it’s so easy to make it your own. It has so many unique variations too.
- Cheeseburger macaroni (Hamburger Helper)
- Beef with tomato sauce, peppers, and rice
- Macaroni with beef and cheese (no sauce)
- Cream-based beef and macaroni
- Mashed potatoes, chopped meat, and onions
- Add cheddar to regular Beefaroni for a cheesy, creamy version.
- Caprese Salad
- Shirazi Salad
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- Caesar Salad
- Fresh Bread and Pesto
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Feel free to switch the beef for ground turkey or pork.
- You can use bow ties or any other medium shaped pasta.
- You can use zucchini or other veggies instead of carrots. I just like carrots because they’re easily disguised by the sauce.
1. How long will Beefaroni last in the fridge?
If kept in an airtight container, your Beefaroni will last for 4-5 in the refrigerator.
2. Can I freeze Beefaroni?
I would not freeze this recipe. Pasta doesn’t really freeze well and breaks down, giving a grainy texture to the dish.
You can set aside some of the meat mixture before adding the noodles. That part freezes very well. It will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
3. Does homemade Beefaroni have a special nutritional value?
Homemade Beefaroni is a pretty healthy meal. It’s got a good amount of protein, calcium, potassium, and iron. There are fewer calories and less sodium than the canned stuff too!
- 2 large pots
- Cutting board
- Vegetable grater
- Slotted mixing spoon
- 16 ounces of elbow macaroni
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 large carrot grated
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- Parmesan cheese or whatever you prefer
- Put the pasta water on the stove on a medium heat. Add pasta when the water begins to boil.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the ground beef, onion, and carrots over a medium heat. Break the beef and keep stirring until cooked through.
- Drain the excess fat from the pot.
- Season the mixture with the garlic, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Pour Worcestershire and tomato sauce over the beef mixture and stir well.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Let the meat sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste test about halfway through and add more spices as needed.
- Drain the macaroni and stir into the sauce.
- Top with the cheese of your choice.
- Serve and Enjoy!