Hello January, and ever so quickly we are saying goodbye to 2023, and welcoming in 2024. This has been a truly unusual January, with hardly any snow, and mild temperatures. The warmer weather is credited to a strong El Nino this year. While it has been nice, to not have snow-packed roads, I do hope for moisture for the wildlife, and farmers in the spring. We have passed the shortest day, and now the days will start to get longer. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. And sometimes the days are remarkably clear.
Even though it is such a mild winter, it is still nice to turn on the oven to bake up some classic comfort food. Casseroles have been comforting food for over 100 years. This is super easy to make, and uses the most basic of ingredients. It is nice paired with a lettuce salad or a coleslaw. It is often good to have some raw food at every meal, be it a salad or a fruit, for the beneficial enzymes. Hamburger is an excellent source of first-class protein, at a lower cost than most meat cuts. To make this dish even healthier, you can precook the pasta, and chill for several hours to create resistant starch. Resistant starch does not spike insulin as much as regular cooked warm starch in pasta, so it is healthier for blood sugar balance and weight control.
1 pound hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic smashed and finely
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounce)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 - 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
3 1/2 cups grated old cheddar
In a large skillet brown the hamburger in a 1/2 cup of water, add the chopped onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes. Cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, and the onions are cooked. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in boiling water until al dente (chewy but not crunchy).
Do not fully cook the macaroni, as it will continue to cook and absorb some of the liquid in the tomatoes, while in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the macaroni, and stir in the hamburger mixture. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese and the parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of grated cheese, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes.