Creamy Cheesy Beef Skillet Pasta

This dish is total comfort food. I made this after a really long, stressful day at work and it is definitely a winner. The beefy tomato sauce and pasta make this a really hearty meal, while cream cheese gives it a nice creamy flavor. Then there is the cheese…. I mean, you can never have too much cheese. I had some nice Gruyere and aged cheddar that I grated and threw in some Monterrey jack, it really made this cheese loving girl happy. What’s even better is that it’s all cooked in one pan….yes even the pasta. Can I talk about the pasta for a minute? I found this Conchiglie pasta at one of my Fresh Market stores.

I had never even heard if this one before, but I thought it would hold up great in a beefy tomato sauce. They look like a cross between shells and elbow pasta.

What’s even better, is that all of that beefy sauce and cheese fill up the center of the pasta, then when you bite into it….it is heaven. This dish is definitely for a cheat day, but it’s worth it.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*olive oil

*14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

*28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

*2 tsp. dried Basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried marjoram, or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp salt, or more to taste

*2/3 cup of chicken stock

*2 1/2 cups Conchiglie pasta or elbow pasta, uncooked

*4 oz. cream cheese

*2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

*1/2 cup shredded aged Cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Heat a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan starts getting hot, add the onions and the garlic.

Sauté until the onions just start to get tender, about 2 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to turn brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the ground beef to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high heat if you had to lower it.

Break up the beef while stirring the onions and garlic to combine. Cook until the beef is brown, about 5 to 8 minutes stirring frequently; drain if needed.

Add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine the tomatoes with the onion beef mixture. Next, stir in all of the spices and herbs.

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes; taste and add any more herbs or spices.

Dump in the pasta and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is al dente.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes.

Add the cream cheese to the beef and pasta mixture.

Gently stir until the cream cheese starts to melt, then add in the shredded cheeses.

Stir carefully to melt and combine the cheese with the beef pasta mixture. Do not over mix or the pasta will start to break apart.

When the cheese is melted and heated thru, serve with some nice crusty bread.

Cheeseburger Biscuit Cups

These biscuit cups are a fun spin on your ordinary beefy sandwich. These are easy to put together and very tasty too I might add. You can top these with what you like on your cheeseburger. I added ketchup, mustard and a pickle on these, but you can make these your own.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb. ground beef; I used one with an 85% to 15% fat ratio.

*1 can refrigerated biscuits; I used the larger kind.

*1/4 Cup ketchup

*1 TBS mustard

*2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

*1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*shredded or sliced cheese; I had shredded cheddar on hand so that is what I used, but any kind will work.

Preheat oven to 400°

Heat a large pan to medium high heat. Crumble and brown beef, drain if needed. Add ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion and garlic powder.

Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Spray a muffin tin with no stick spray. Press each biscuit into the muffin tin, forming a cup.

Fill each cup with the beef mixture. Set aside any remaining beef.

Place in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Take the tins out and with the back of a spoon, press the beef mixture gently down into the biscuit dough.

This keeps the dough from rising too much and also allows you to add more of the beef mixture. Spoon more of the beef into the cups.

Place back into the oven and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 minutes more or until golden brown.

Add the cheese on top of the beef and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Top with your favorite toppings and serve.

Slow Cooker Beer Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Onions

Slow cookers are great aren’t they? You put some love into preparing the ingredients, throw it all in and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work, then later you have a fabulous tasting dish. Well, ok, not of all the time. I have had a few dishes that didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would. This dish came out really well….. nice, tender pieces of beef flavored with herbs and spices all nestled in a savory sauce with onions and tomatoes.

Here’s how to make it:

Cut a chuck roast into large pieces.

In a large bowl, season beef with salt, pepper, dried thyme, sage, Italian seasoning, paprika, ( I used half sharp Hungarian style, but you can use sweet if you’d like) garlic powder and onion powder. I do not measure, I always add to taste. Mix to coat beef with the herb/spice mixture.

Add a few Tbs of flour to the beef as well and mix to coat all sides.

Add enough olive oil or any other oil you prefer, to coat the bottom of a larger skillet. Heat to med high and add beef to the pan. Do not over crowd the pan because this will not allow the meat to brown as well as it should. Working in batches, brown beef on all sides and place in the slow cooker.

Chop a medium size onion and place into the slow cooker. Add in 1/2 C of beef broth, a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of ale or beer, 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 bay leaf. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Remove the bay leaf.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid in the slow cooker. If you want the beef in smaller pieces, shred with a fork and set aside. Mix together 2 to 3 tsp of arrow root to 1 Tbs of water. Pour this into the slow cooker and stir. Continue cooking on high for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce becomes as thick as you like.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.