I have been on the hunt for a rich and hearty one-pot meal for a while now, one that incorporates my favorite pantry staples (canned vegetables, whole wheat pasta, spices) with my favorite fresh veggies (mushrooms, onions, peppers) mixed with a beloved American protein staple: ground beef. Oh! And I want it to be good for me. Whew! I know what you guys are thinking…Really, Jenny…anything else you’d like from your dinner?! I know, I know, but I take dinner seriously. Dinner is the meal that I look forward to the most. It’s the time that I reconnect with my family after being away all day; the time that we reminisce and tell stories, bringing the day to its final closing. So, such a special time needs a special meal. Although, completely not fancy at all, this meal certainly fit my tall bill for what I expect out of my dinner. Simple to toss together, rich and hearty, every bite stands out with its own burst of flavor. If you’re looking for a new one pot wonder to enjoy at night, then this is the meal for you! (Oh, p.s. this dish reheats wonderfully in the microwave for leftovers next day!) To get the dish started, brown 1 pound of hamburger in the bottom of a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once cooked through, transfer ground beef to a strainer and rinse with hot water, leaving just enough fat in the pan to lightly coat the bottom. Rinsing the cooked beef with hot water removes quite a bit of extra fat, and I promise that you will get plenty of flavor from all of the other components of the dish. Set the ground beef aside.
Next, add your chopped onion with a quarter teaspoon of salt to the pan and let cook until soft and translucent, about five minutes. This begins the wonderful layers of flavor this dish brings to the table!
When your onions are golden brown, add the quartered mushrooms. Cook them down until all of their juices have been released and they’re golden brown; this will take about 5 more minutes.
Add the chopped pepper, cooking until just soft; about 2-3 minutes.
Now, for the extra flavors! Although, it seems like this might be a bit spicy, I promise it’s not. The blend of these particular spices lends a very subtle heat to the dish but it is in no way overpowering. So, stir in the cumin, salt, paprika, chili powder, and garlic.
Mix everything together until well combined.
Stir in the canned tomatoes with their juices. Did you know, by the way, that canned tomatoes provide a more absorbable form of lycopene (a good-for-you antioxidant) than their fresh counterparts! Boost of nutrition that’s so convenient, I love it!
And, my favorite part of this recipe, toss in the whole wheat pasta, directly into the pot (no second pasta pot!).
Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 8 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through.
When the noodles are cooked through, stir in the ground beef and cheese; heating through until everything is melted, gooey, and beyond delicious.
Serve immediately with a tiny sprinkle of cheese on top. As I mentioned earlier, this dish makes excellent leftovers simply reheated in the microwave. Two meals for the effort of one is truly the extra bonus that will keep bringing this dish back to my dinner time over and over again.
Midwest Beef & Cheese Skillet
Adapted Recipe courtesy of The Kitchn
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 yellow (red or orange) bell pepper, chopped
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Transfer the browned ground beef to a strainer and rinse with hot water (to remove excess fat). Pour out excess fat in pan, leaving just enough at the bottom of your skillet to lightly coat the bottom. Set ground beef aside.
- Add the onions to the pan with a quarter teaspoon of salt and cook until they are soft, translucent, and beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until they have released all their liquid and turned golden brown, another 5 to 6 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until softened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spices, and another quarter teaspoon of salt, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Pour tomatoes with their juices into the pan, stir in pasta, and bring to a boil. Cook until pasta is soft, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the hamburger and cheese to the pasta mixture and simmer until heated through.
Yield: 6 servings Per Serving*: Calories 320, Total Fat 14g (Saturated 6g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 65mg, Sodium 690mg, Total Carbohydrate 24g (Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 7g), Protein 24g, Vitamin A 25%, Vitamin C 130%, Calcium 20%, Iron 15% *Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.
Jenny Dahl is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of WI.