Sometimes you open the fridge and force yourself to scarf down that low carb, low fat sweet and sour chicken you’ve been avoiding eye contact with. And sometimes low carb and low fat just won’t cut it. When you’re having a rough day/week/month and you need to drown your sorrows in something unhealthy and loaded with sodium, consider Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta.
Introduce Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta to Your Comfort Food Stable
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. thin-sliced bacon
3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (10 3/4 oz) of condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 can (10 3/4 oz) of condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta (shells or macaroni recommended)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup of diced tomatoes
Dash of onion powder
Dash of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- Begin by cooking the bacon. For this recipe, it’s best to cook the bacon to a very crunchy, shatter-crisp consistency. Start your bacon process in a cold cast-iron skillet. Fry over medium to medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until the bacon reaches your preferred level of crisp. Drain cooked bacon on paper towels to remove excess grease. Set aside to cool.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Remove from heat and drain when the pasta is cooked molto al dente, or slightly undercooked. Do not overcook the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, brown your ground beef in a skillet, breaking the beef into large chunks. Add the onion and garlic powder during the cooking process. Drain the beef thoroughly.
- Once the bacon has cooled, chop or crush the strips into small to medium bits. Set aside.
- Add the cheddar cheese soup and shredded cheddar to the pasta over low heat. Stir until pasta is evenly coated with cheese.
- Add diced tomatoes and beef to the pasta mixture. Add tomato soup to the mixture sparingly. The tomato soup has a tendency to overpower the other flavors if too much is added. Taste the mixture as you add the tomato soup.
- Continue to stir until the pasta reaches your desired level of doneness.
- Serve the dish topped with chopped bacon. Salt and pepper to taste.
Make It Your Own
This dish can be customized in a hundred different ways.
Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a few tablespoons of chopped onions in the beef. Stir a couple of tablespoons of yellow mustard in with the tomato soup. Sprinkle some roughly chopped dill pickles on top. Spice things up with a couple dabs of Frank’s Red Hot or some sliced jalapenos. Take a little bit of a healthier route with whole wheat pasta or ground turkey. Crumble crackers on top and pop it in the oven until the edges are golden and bubbling. In a pinch, tomato soup can be replaced with a couple of healthy squirts of your preferred ketchup.
The options go on and on.
A Side Aside
Just don’t ever, ever try and add lettuce to this dish. There are very few instances in which warm lettuce is a welcome part of any dish.
If you’re missing the vegetable complements to the burger, consider tossing up a side salad. Try and coordinate your favorite burger toppings in the salad: romaine lettuce, halved grape tomatoes, thin-sliced red onion, a hint of minced garlic and maybe a couple of butter croutons. Keep any dressing you use pretty light to avoid taking away from the flavors of the main dish.
Pairing Your Dish
This dish pairs particularly well with an Oktoberfest Märzen. Oktoberfest Märzens are notorious for being paired with smoked meats, and the malt-forward flavors of the brew will complement the bacon extremely well. Consider the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest or the Jack’s Abby Copper Legend Octoberfest. Since we’re working with cheddar in this dish, an English Pale Ale would suit nicely as well. Another malty/caramel beer, the English Pale Ale also has a bitterness to it that works in harmonic opposition to the sharpness of the cheddar.
If you’re more into wine, reach for a dry Riesling for a sip that will cleanse your palate between bites or a Saint-Émilion to complement the bacon.
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