A great little week-night number, I borrowed this from ‘Cooking With Love’, by Carla Hall, changing it only a touch.  Everyone loved it, and I loved the fact that I usually have all of the ingredients in the house – enjoy!

Hamburger Help-Me

1 large onion, finely diced AND 4 + cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 lbs. extra-lean ground beef

1 t. + EACH, oregano, salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 t. + cayenne pepper

1/4 c. flour

1 can (156 mL/5.5 oz) tomato paste

1 can (796 mL/28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 c. strong chicken broth

1 box (375 g) macaroni

2 c. + grated old cheddar

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the macaroni.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a touch of oil, then cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes while stirring, until softened.  Add in the beef, stirring and breaking it up as you go and then add in the 4 spices – be liberal with the spices, this is where most of the flavor is coming from.  When the beef is no longer pink, sprinkle in the flour and cook and stir until there is no trace, then add in the tomato paste and cook and stir for about 2 minutes until the paste is well distributed.

Stir the diced tomatoes and broth into the beef mixture, bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer until it’s as thick as you’d like, and the macaroni is done.  Cook your pasta to al dente only, it will soak up more liquid from the rest of the mix.  Now, right before you’re ready to serve it, add a good cup of cheese to the hamburger mix, drain the macaroni and add it as well.  Give it all a good stir – if it’s too stiff, add a bit of broth or pasta water, if it’s too liquidy, let it simmer for another minute.

Dish it up into big bowls and garnish with the parsley.

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