Budget Stretcher Recipe: Cheeseburger Macaroni

Budget Stretcher Recipe: Cheeseburger Macaroni

The world seems almost surreal these days. With so many trying to stretch their budgets as much as possible, eating at home more, and trying to entertain their kids, I decided this was a good time to share one my favorite creations – cheeseburger macaroni. This is always a dinnertime pleaser and can be modified so many different ways by simply changing up the cheese. This recipe is also incredibly wallet friendly at about $2.65 per serving. So skip the chemical laden box with the smiling glove, grab some basic ingredients, and prepare to be wowed because this comforting dish is anything but basic.


  • 1 lb ground beef, capon, or turkey
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp honey or 1 tsp sugar okay to omit if you’re focusing on a lower sugar diet
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta elbow, bowtie, spirals, penne, or egg noodles all work just fine – no need to buy anything special, use whatever is in your pantry
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese or cheese curds


  • Brown ground meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then drain any fat, and return to skillet.
  • Add cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, honey/sugar, black pepper to the meat. Stir in hot water, followed by the milk and pasta. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, place lid on skillet, then simmer until pasta is al dente (7 – 10 minutes depending on your noodle shape). Stir a few times while pasta is cooking.
  • Remove skillet from heat and stir in the shredded cheese until melted. Let stand for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.


Switch it up with your favorite cheese curds instead of shredded cheese, or add some chopped bacon for a bacon cheeseburger.
Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetables to make a balanced meal.
Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days