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On a budget but want a great tasting meal? Try this tasty budget hamburger casserole.
A Meal For Tight Budgets
There’s not many of us who don’t stick to some sort of budget when it comes to food shopping. Especially now that so many are hard hit by the present situation. And worse yet, prices are still rising and as a result, it’s necessary to be especially prudent with a dollar.
There are very good options for making tasty meals with lower-cost ingredients. This budget hamburger casserole uses three of the most cost-effective main ingredients that you will find: ground beef, pasta and tomato soup.
Despite the rise in prices, you can generally find ground beef at a special price as well as elbow macaroni and condensed tomato soup.
Cheese Or No Cheese
Shredded cheese is not a major ingredient in this. I use two varieties–cheddar and mozzarella. However, any melting cheese will do. While it adds flavor to the casserole, I look on it as more of a binding ingredient that makes the sauce creamy.
But you don’t have to include it if it’s out of your price range at the moment. The casserole will taste just fine without it. Another option is to use less cheese; cut the amount in half and it’ll still be good.
Very recently, one of my stores had bags of shredded cheese 2 for $5 which was a pretty good deal. And remember, if you won’t be using it again for some time, hard cheeses such as cheddar freeze well.
Soup And Pasta
Just plain old tomato soup is called for here; nothing fancy. Of course you can jazz up the flavor with some herbs and spices, but I never find that necessary because the taste of the old standby goes perfectly in this casserole.
Another plus is tomato soup is often on sale along with other standard flavors. If you can, stock up during these sales because you can doctor tomato soup to make sauces and fancier forms of tomato soup.
As far as the pasta is concerned, nothing fancy again. Elbows are best, but any tubular pasta works here. As always, use what you have on hand.
Feel free to up the amount of pasta if you wish. That way, you will be able to serve more people and really s-t-r-e-t-c-h that pound and a half of ground beef.
Budget Hamburger Casserole
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 tbs onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup 10.75 oz each
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 cups elbow macaroni
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Lightly spray a 2 1/2 qr/2,5L (11x7-inch is good) baking dish.
- Cook elbows per package direction; drain and set aside.
- Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in soup, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Check for seasoning and add more if necessary.
- Add cooked elbows, mozzarella and 1 cup of the cheddar; stir to combine. Turn into prepared pan, cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove foil, top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.