Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cheeseburger Pasta

I really enjoy to bake, but especially to cook. When you cook, it is so easy to take a standard recipe and tweak it to make it your own. I read recipes everywhere and clip the ones that sound good to me. The only problem I run into is if I don't try it soon, I wind up with it in a pile of recipes to try and eventually, in the interest of maintaining some organization, they get tossed. Generally, I will follow the recipe the first time or two and then, I will start to make it my own. Sometimes this is shortcutting, sometimes I'm making it a tad healthier with a substitution, sometimes I'm stretching the meal and sometimes I'm simply enhancing the flavor.

Recently, one of my local grocery stores featured an in ad recipe from Campbell's Soup for Cheeseburger Pasta. It is a really simple recipe. It has a good flavor, but I already have tweaks in mind, but first the recipe:

1# ground meat
1 can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup
1 1/2 c water
2 c uncooked shells or macaroni pasta (about 1/2#)

Cook beef in skillet until well browned, drain. Add soups, water and pasta and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is done.

Stirring while it is simmering is key, otherwise with the reduced water compared to normal pasta prep, your pasta will stick to the bottom.

I would serve it topped with shredded cheddar and a dill pickle spear on the side.

Now, for the tweaks I plan to try next time. I think that I will had a can of diced tomatoes. The Tomato soup provided a tomato flavor, but not that fresh sliced tomato flavor that I associate with a Cheeseburger. In addition to providing a contrast flavor, I think it will also help stretch the meal a little further.

There is a similar, but different version of Cheeseburger Pasta on the Cheddar Cheese Soup. It uses ketchup and Beef Broth in place of tomato soup. I'm guessing this will up the beefiness of the meal and the ketchup, again, a better representative of a flavor you associate with a cheeseburger. This makes me consider adding some beef bouillon to the dish as well.

For other new recipes to try, check out the Mmm Monday recipe swap at Mommies with Cents. There are also recipe ideas at The Grocery Cart Challenge weekly Recipe Swap.