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An easy and classic, kid-friendly, comfort-food recipe made healthier, Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole is a great choice for a busy night! Made with healthier ground turkey and less cheese, this dinner is made in less than an hour. And, for 30 minutes of that time, it is baking in the oven!
Recently, I was asked by RecipeLion to participate in making recipes from an upcoming cookbook to be released soon. I chose this one, Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole, because I was curious. Curious because I love those out-of-the-box ground beef “helper” meals found in the aisles of grocery stores. But, I haven’t been able to eat them for more than 20 years.
Why? Because I get migraines brought on by food additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrates, sulfites and other additives. With MSG, I get an instant migraine. After years of trying to figure out what was causing my migraines, now I practice what I call “avoidance”. So, I “avoid” foods that are known to have MSG when at all possible. And, my practice of avoidance cut out most of those boxed meals that line our grocery shelves.
Since this cheeseburger casserole recipe doesn’t call for any of that nasty stuff, I made it with high hopes. High hopes that it would remind me of the boxed variety (it does), high hopes that it would be cheesy enough and delicious (it is) and high hopes that it would be a new family favorite albeit a healthy pasta bake (it is)!
Charlie loved it too! I wasn’t able to get the exact ingredients called for at my local grocery store, so I improvised a little. Isn’t that the great thing about cooking and casseroles – improvising? Since this recipe is adapted from RecipeLion’s Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole recipe, which can be found in their cookbook, Family Favorite Casserole Recipes: 103 Comforting Breakfast Casseroles, Dinner Ideas, and Desserts Everyone Will Love, order the cookbook to get the original through Amazon and Barnes & Noble!Classic comfort-food recipe made healthier, Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole, adapted from upcoming… Click To Tweet
I couldn’t find whole wheat elbow macaroni or penne in my store. But, they had a multi-grain penne, so that’s what I used. Also, I couldn’t find sliced reduced-fat cheddar cheese, so I chose a thinly sliced cheddar cheese that was 45 calories per slice. Plus, I didn’t have a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, other than my cast iron skillet, so that’s what I used.
Don’t you love my wooden spoon? I got it a few months ago at Michael’s. Yes, that Michael’s – the arts and crafts store! It’s amazing the unexpected things you can find there. But, you can get it on Amazon if you can’t find it, though it’s a different color.
Other Materials and Supplies Needed to Make This Recipe:
Pasta Pot with Strainer || Cast Iron Skillet or other Ovenproof Skillet || Wooden Spoon || Chopping Board || Knives || Can Opener || Measuring Cups || Measuring Spoons || Individual Serving Bowls with Handles
So, it you are looking for casserole ideas or ground turkey casserole recipes or healthy casseroles, this one covers all those choices. Plus, even though I don’t have children, I’m pretty confident that you could consider this casserole recipe kid-friendly!
Here’s the adapted recipe for Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole:
- 8 ounces whole-wheat or whole-grain elbow macaroni or penne
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (about ½ of a whole onion)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 16 ounces (1 pound) ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon steak seasoning
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
- 7 slices reduced-fat cheddar cheese (or thin sliced cheddar cheese, which is 45 calories per slice)
- 1½ cups diced tomatoes (about 1 large tomato), for garnish
- Salt, to taste
- Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water, fitted with a pasta strainer, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add pasta and cook about 7 minutes until al dente.
- Drain pasta and set aside.
- While pasta water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped onion and garlic and saute for 1 or 2 minutes until onion is slightly translucent.
- Next, add ground turkey and steak seasoning, crumbling ground turkey with spoon, stirring frequently until turkey is browned.
- Then add the canned diced tomatoes, mustard, tomato paste, and pickle relish, stirring to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until pasta is done (the pasta cooked and drain from instructions above!).
- Turn off stove top heat and add drained pasta to meat mixture and stir to combine.
- Smooth top of casserole and add sliced cheese over top, breaking two pieces of cheese into triangles to fit the four corners of the round cast iron skillet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with diced tomatoes and serve.
- Pass salt and pepper for each individuals' taste.
About the Author of the cookbook, Family Favorite Casserole Recipes: Addie Gundry received her masters in culinary arts at Auguste Escoffier in Avignon, France. She has worked for chefs including Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Martha Stewart on management, restaurant openings, brand development, editorial, marketing, and sales. In 2015, she won Cutthroat Kitchen on The Food Network and will appear on the next season of Search for the Next Food Network Star (June 2017). As the executive producer for RecipeLion, Addie creates culinary content for multiple web platforms and communities. She excels at making easy recipes elegant and runs her own cooking blog (easyelegantentertaining.com). Check out her story here: Addie Gundry on You Tube.
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