Sometimes we need a helping hand, especially when we get caught up in the notion that buying something premeasured, pre-instructed, or pre-anything will always be easier than going it alone with fresh ingredients and easy instructions. Often this way of thinking tricks you into buying an alternative that appears to be easier, but ultimately ends up risking flavor and adding those yucky preservatives. Better-Than-The-Box Hamburger Casserole is the answer to all your “Can I really do this?” questions when it comes to a fast and family-friendly meal! The combo of savory ground beef mixed with the best savory homemade sauce and some al dente macaroni will be the all-hands-on-deck solution you need, all while staying as far away from a premade cardboard box recipe as possible. And with just one bite, you will see why. Follow this delicious recipe for Better-Than-The-Box Hamburger Casserole and you will never go down that prepackaged-meal isle again. Don’t get boxed into a stale, hum-drum meal… add freshness and fabulousness to your menu with this fast and delicious casserole. It really will be so helpful!

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  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups large elbow macaroni
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 pound yellow American cheese slices, torn into small pieces
  • green onion, to taste, diced
  • parsley, to taste, chopped


Step 1 –In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, the bacon, and the onion and cook, while crumbling the meat, until the beef is no longer pink, the bacon has rendered, and the onion has softened, about 12-15 minutes.

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Step 2 –Add the garlic to the ground beef mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 3 –Reduce the heat to medium and add the beef broth, the tomato sauce, the heavy cream, the paprika, the hot sauce, the salt, and the black pepper to the beef mixture, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.

Step 4 –Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the elbow macaroni to the beef mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until it is al dente, about 8 minutes.

Step 5 –Reduce the heat to low, gradually add the shredded cheddar cheese and the American cheese pieces to the beef mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until it has fully melted and is creamy.

Step 6 –Serve the casserole topped with the green onion and the parsley.