Someone linked to this recipe on Twitter recently from the American blog SkinnyTaste (originally from a Bobby Deen cookbook) and I was intrigued by it. Cheeseburgers? In a casserole? With pasta? And not full of fat? DOES NOT COMPUTE.
Obviously I had to try it though, and try it I did. I am usually pretty faithful when it comes to following recipes, but I looked at all the weird American measurements and totally improvised this one. So not like me. I kind of based it on the quantities from other recipes I’ve done like a Spag Bol and a cheesy bake, and it was super yummy! It’s not QUITE as good as a cheeseburger (come on, NOTHING is) but it’s really hearty and filling and there’s cheese involved, and you know that I’m all about involving the cheese. I’ve modified it a bit, adding some extra flavouring and stuff, and a few more veggies.
Cheeseburger Casserole (originally from here)
500g extra lean mince 16pp
300g pasta 29pp
150g light cheddar cheese 12pp
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard 2pp
1 onion, finely chopped 0pp
1 red pepper, chopped 0pp
1 tsp salt 0pp
1 tsp black pepper 0pp
2 tbsp tomato puree 1pp
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed 0pp
1 carton/can chopped tomatoes 0pp
1 jar pickled gherkins 0pp*
60PP / 10PP
To reduce points: drop the amount of cheese, make into 8 portions instead of 6, drop the amount of pasta (40g per person instead of 50g per person would be enough).
1. Preheat the oven to 150c.
2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.
3. In a large frying pan or wok, add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add oil if you need to (but remember to account for it if you’re counting) or FryLight, but a smidge of water will also work to stop it sticking.
4. Stir in the garlic and the mince, and cook until browned.
5. Add the pepper, and any other vegetables you fancy.
6. Stir in the tomato puree, then add the salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, chopped tomatoes and the mustard. Let the mixture bubble slightly until it’s slightly thickened – a few minutes. Stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick.
7. Give it a taste and add any extra seasoning you think it needs, but if you’re happy, chuck the pasta in with the sauce and stir it together
8. Spread the meat and pasta mixture into the prepared dish, and top with your grated 150g of cheese.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown.
10. Sprinkle the chopped pickles over the top and serve – but if you’ve batch cooked this and are planning to freeze it, hold back on the pickles and only add them when the mixture is heated up and ready to eat.
*I’ve put 0pp on the pickles but it depends on what you buy. I bought a jar of pickled sweet gherkins and if I’d eaten the whole jar, it would have been a few points because of the sugar that was used to preserve them. However, allowing for a sixth of the jar was 0pp. So just make sure you check this – it’s not going to add a lot to the dish though. Also, if you’re not a fan of them, just leave them out!
SkinnyTaste also suggested adding sautéed mushrooms to the top which I did – I sautéed a whole punnet of chopped mushrooms in about 30g of Lurpak Lighter (5pp), a bit of salt and a couple of chopped garlic cloves which added an extra point per portion. I then put them on top of the bake when it was out of the oven so they retained their flavour. They were yummy, but I felt like the taste of the bake kind of drowned their buttery garlicky awesomeness. Next time, I’d just have them as a side.