He Knows That The Taste Is Such, Is Such To Die For

To be perfectly honest, Eric and I haven’t been overly inspired to cook much lately.  Between the wedding, holidays, random plans with friends and family, differing work schedules, going out to eat, and just not feeling it, we haven’t done a lot in the kitchen.

That being said, we did try a recipe recently that I’d been eyeing for months.

I first came across this recipe on Pinterest, and was pleasantly surprised to discover it came from a blog I’d previously used to make some healthy, delicious meals: Skinnytaste.  If you’re not familiar with this blog, you should definitely check it out.  She posts a lot of really flavorful low fat recipes, and most of them (the one I’m about to share with you included!) don’t seem like “diet” recipes.  She also posts the calories, fat, protein, etc. found in each serving of each recipe, so you can trust that you really aren’t consuming 1500 calories when you dig into your meal.  And since a lot of us will resolve to lose weight in the new year, it’s the perfect recipe to end 2013.

photo

See?  This definitely doesn’t look low fat!  Personal photo.

Cheeseburger Casserole

Recipe taken from Skinnytaste (www.skinnytaste.com)

Adapted very slightly by me (and Eric)!

Note: This was very much a joint effort.  Eric actually probably did more than me, so I definitely wanted to give him the credit he deserves!

Ingredient List:

  • 1 box uncooked whole wheat rotini pasta (The original recipe calls for less, but we wanted plenty of leftovers.)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, finely chopped (We used red onion, but you can substitute a white onion if you’re not a fan.)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic if you’re pressed for time)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (We were lucky enough to have some very fresh straight-from-the-farm beef available to us.  Eric has some cousins who own and operate a farm in western Nebraska, and his parents gave us some of the meat they’d picked up on their last trip to visit them.  The difference in taste is very obvious, and it definitely made this casserole even more flavorful!)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste (The original recipe calls for half this amount, but we wanted a thicker, more tomatoey sauce.  If you don’t think you’d want so much tomato flavor, use the measurement given on Skinnytaste.)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

Instructions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.

3.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

4.) Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions.

5.) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

6.) Stir in the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

7.) Add the ground beef and cook until browned, seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.

8.) Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and Dijon mustard.  Let the sauce bubble gently until it’s slightly thickened (this should only take a few minutes).

9.) Pour the drained pasta and meat sauce together, mixing thoroughly.  Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared dish.

10.) Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

11.) Sprinkle the chopped pickles over the top before serving.

12.) Enjoy!  This was an incredibly filling meal on its own, but it would also be great paired with a salad or a cooked vegetable.

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