Homemade Beefaroni in One Skillet
If you're into Italian food, our
one-skillet homemade beefaroni is an absolutely delicious and easy
dinner or lunch. Note: Mike says that when he was growing up, his
family used to call this dish "goulash."
We use hamburger
meat (either ground beef or ground chuck, which is shown here already
bagged), two cans of tomato sauce, one can of diced tomatoes, spices
and elbow macaroni. Not shown is the cheese we use for a topping.
To the cooked hamburger meat,
Mike adds two 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce. (If a larger can is used,
we measure out two cups of sauce and keep the rest cold, such as in our
chest, for another dish.)
We use all generic or store
brand ingredients except one of the spices (that we got on an excellent
sale at a grocery store).
(Hint: Don't throw the cans away just yet.)
||Next, add the tomatoes in
juice. (In other words, don't drain them; put the full can's worth in
||This is why we hang onto the
cans, to rinse out as much of the sauce as we can.
Pour a little water in a tomato sauce can, stir it up...
...scrape what you can from
the lid, pour it into the other can and repeat.
Mix back and forth from can to can to get as much
of the sauce as
possible into the electric skillet.
You can even pour the water from the tomato sauce
cans into the large can that held the diced tomatoes.
The water is not only to
rinse out the cans, but also to add to the mix so that the macaroni can
cook in it.
Cooking the macaroni in the tomato sauce
mixture instead of cooking it separately and adding it to the tomato
sauce mixture is part of the secret (in our opinion) of making
really good tasting beefaroni.
If the macaroni is not cooked in the sauce, it
can't absorb the tomato flavor and the beefaroni just doesn't taste
Not only that, but it saves one cooking appliance
if you make it all in one pan.
||Mix all the sauce
together and heat it.
Next, Mike adds salt, Italian
seasoning, garlic and oregano to taste.
Even though the tomato sauce and the diced
tomatoes are a bit salty,
they usually do not have the degree of saltiness we like.
Also, without the other spices, this dish tastes
"flat." It needs some
So, after stirring thoroughly, Mike dips in a teaspoon,
samples the mix
and adds more spice to taste. (Note: when we say that Mike seasoned the
taste," he did not measure
the amounts of spices during the preparation of beefaroni shown on this
page. It took another preparation of this dish to measure the spices so
that we could tell you how much we used. Having to measure the spices
really irked him, but he did it for your sakes, our readers.)
Once the mix is seasoned the
way he likes it and the mix has had time to get hot, it is time to add
and mix in
the elbow macaroni -- and
then let it cook with the skillet covered.
Normally, it only takes about 6 minutes to cook
this kind of pasta in boiling water. But when cooked in an electric
skillet with a temperature control that can cycle on and off, it may
take a bit longer.
You may want to allow up to 20 minutes for the
macaroni to cook in this dish, depending on how firm or soft you want
|Mike stirs the concoction to
make sure that each piece of macaroni cooks. He stirs it
periodically throughout the cooking period.
||While the macaroni is
cooking, Vicki makes a salad
of lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheddar
cheese and ranch salad dressing.
|Partway through the cooking
cycle, Mike stirs the beefaroni mix. The macaroni still needs a little
more cooking time.
||At last! The beefaroni is
done. It's almost time to eat.
We prepared the entire meal
on top of the bottom bunk
in Mike's truck, on top of Vicki's sleeping
As you can see here,
the beefaroni is in the skillet, ready to be served and the salad
||Notice the chunks of diced
tomato scattered throughout the mix. One can use a seasoned type of
tomatoes for extra zip.
|Mike serves two dishes, one
for Vicki and one for himself.
Mike likes to have shredded
cheddar cheese on top of his beefaroni. You may instead prefer to use
mozzarella cheese, or a grated parmesan cheese much like you would do
we had had a toaster oven at our disposal in making this meal, we would
have rounded it out with some homemade garlic toast. Yum!
Ingredients we used:
- 1-2 pounds cooked ground beef
or ground chuck
- 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato
- 1 can (about 28 ounces) diced
canned tomatoes, undrained
- 3-4 cups of dry elbow macaroni
- 2-4 cups of water (depending on
how firm or soft you like your macaroni)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 2 teaspoons oregano (or mixture
of oregano and Italian seasoning)
- shredded cheddar cheese
Obviously, this preparation makes more than enough for
one meal for two people. It usually makes 3 good meals for 2
When we say "good meals," there is enough beefaroni to
satisfy our appetites (not some little bitty serving out of a can).
Yes, the portion size shown above is large, but then again, Mike has a
|Cost of this dish (estimated)
|1 pound cooked ground chuck
|2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
|1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
|4 cups elbow macaroni
|shredded cheddar cheese
cost (for 6 good meals)
Note: The cost of this dish was calculated at the time
this page was originally written. Your costs may vary.
Comparing Homemade to
Individual Serving Size Containers for Sale at Truck Stops
Pictured below are two sizes of cans of Chef Boyardee
Beefaroni that we saw for sale at a truck
- the one on the left contains
7.5 ounces for $1.79
one on the right contains 14.5 ounces for $2.79 each.
There is no doubt
that this is a quick and easy meal; it is also simple to clean up after.
Consider the amount. If all you want to eat by way of an
entree is either 7.5
ounces or 14.5 ounces, fine. But after a hard day's work, some truckers
like larger portions. To get more, you have to buy more.
Now to be honest, we're not sure how many ounces our
homemade batch makes, but you can tell from the well-filled skillet
that it is much more than even a few cans' full.
Consider the price per pound:
||Cost per Pound
||16 ounces per pound
Note: The cost of these products may have changed since
these photos were taken.
The cost of these products through Amazon.com as of late
September 2011 were:
Money saving tip:
When you buy convenience food,
you're paying for convenience -- generally not health
and certainly not
for the sake of your budget.
Even though a product may state that it has no
preservatives, a canned entree can never be as fresh as what you cook
reason why something you can cook yourself is better than buying
already prepared is the ability to control the quality and the amount
of ingredients, especially sodium for those who are concerned
- If you want more beef, no
problem. Just add
- If spice
is "where it's at" for you, then feel free to "fang it up" (make it
- If you're a pasta lover,
have at it by adding
more. Just be
sure to add a little more water; we don't know of anyone who
particularly enjoys crunchy pasta.
We have found store brands to be as good as or
even better than name brands on some things.
you think our beefaroni entree looks good, just wait until you try it.
a better idea? Have it as a leftover; it tastes even better the second
time around! The mellowing process allows the spices and other
ingredients to meld into a most pleasing and palatable taste sensation.
As a final thought, we frankly acknowledge that
spending $2.79 on a convenience store entree is easier on your wallet
than spending $15-20 on a truck
restaurant meal that can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable,
and your wallet a bit emptier.
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