Cheeseburgers. Cheese fries. Macaroni and cheese. Good old all-American foods. Craving all three? I’ve got you covered! This mac and cheese incorporates all of the elements of a cheeseburger and fries, or cheeseburger and cheese fries, if you prefer. I’ve not only included the fries and the burgers, but also the traditional cheeseburger goodies--ketchup, mustard, and pickles! And you know what? It’s so. damn. good. Not for every day, mind you--but for a treat? Kid’s birthday? Potluck? Hell yeah!
My 15 year old daughter loves macaroni and cheese. A lot. She…puts ketchup in it. (I know, right?) Which always grossed me out. Without fail. One day, not too long ago, she was squirting ketchup into her mac and cheese, and I got brave and asked for a bite. I had to see what all the fuss was about. Surprise--it was pretty good! She could have asked me for anything in that moment, and out of shock, I’d have probably said yes. Good thing she didn’t, right?
So that got me thinking about cheese and ketchup, and that led to cheeseburgers, which brought me to cheeseburgers and fries. The mac and cheese was right in front of my face, too. It was all a natural progression, you see.
The fries are actually cubed roasted potatoes. I even made teeny hamburger patties! Side note--the tiny patties with a squirt of ketchup and a piece of diced pickle? Addictive, I’ve got to say. All that was missing were tiny squares of sliced cheese.
Cheeseburger and Fries Macaroni and Cheese
makes one 9x13 pan
1 russet potato
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp burger seasoning, plus a little more for sprinkling over (I used Weber's Gourmet Burger Seasoning)
1-16 oz box elbow noodles
1/2 cup butter
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 pound of grated (or small cubed) cheese, PLUS about 1/2 cup more for sprinkling over the top (I used and American/Cheddar blend)
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup diced dill pickle
panko bread crumbs
one 9x13 metal pan (no glass if you want to use the broiler to brown the top)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potato and cut it into 3/4-1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of the onion and garlic powders (about a quarter teaspoon or so of each). Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing the potatoes around a couple of times with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
While the potatoes are in the oven roasting, place the ground beef in a bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce and burger seasoning. Mix well, then form into small meatballs, using about 2 tsp of meat at a time. Flatten each meatball into a small burger patty. When you're done making them, sprinkle them with a bit more burger seasoning. Heat up a large skillet, and cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until done. Set aside.
Get a pot of water going to cook the noodles in. When you start the noodles, make the cheese sauce. (Boil the noodles until they're al dente, and set aside.) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat, and add the butter, salt, pepper and flour. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, watching it carefully. Boil for one minute while whisking. Remove from the heat and stir in the one pound of cheese, and continue to stir until melted.
Transfer the cheese sauce to a large mixing bowl. Add 6 cups of the cooked noodles. (Honestly, I could have added the whole amount of cooked noodles, but my taste-testing daughter said there was enough. You decide here.) Next add the cooked potato cubes and about 1 1/2 cups of the patties. You could add all of them, but I eyeballed it and thought that was plenty. I also broke the patties in half for more even distribution-again, at the kid’s request. Finally, add the ketchup, mustard, and diced pickles.
Fold all of this together with a large spoon or rubber spatula, and taste. Add more ketchup or mustard if you feel you'd like to. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle with the extra grated cheese and some panko bread crumbs. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes to lightly brown the top.
- You could do this recipe in steps, like I did. I roasted the potatoes on Sunday morning, and made the patties on Monday (but could have easily done them on Sunday, too), early in the day. I put the rest together late in the afternoon, and had it in the oven for dinner.
- We absolutely loved this! It’s packed with classic American comfort food. It sure is fun to say you’re having your cheeseburger and fries in mac and cheese!
- I think this will be my last mac and cheese post for a while. I’m getting mac and cheesed out. Ha!