Cheese and ground beef casserole
Well, I am just about to cry. After a week of the Polar Vortex, now I am given to understand that there may be a Velveeta shortage. How can there be a shortage of a cheese product? It’s not even real, but apparently people crave the cheese. I actually read a statistic that sales of the fake cheese increased more than 23 percent last year.
Why, given the increased knowledge of the American consumer about healthy and sustainable food, would the sales of Velveeta go through the roof? Because snobbery aside, it’s friggin’ delicious. And it’s a childhood food memory. Never discount the allure of foods you loved when you were 5. My mother used to make my sister and I sandwiches that consisted of nothing but Velveeta cheese, mayonnaise and Wonder Bread. I believe all three were synthetic, but it was the 1950s and synthetic was in vogue. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed cheese out of a can and we thought Swanson made the best fried chicken ever.
Noah has the same childhood memory involving Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Mommy was a bad girl when Noah was young because sometimes she didn’t have a whole lot of time to cook. And I’ll tell you the exact second that I came up with this ground beef casserole using the Velveeta. It was a night when Noah invited five of his friends over for supper with about 10 minutes of warning.
So I’m not ashamed about my love of processed cheese food. I can eat a whole pot of Velveeta Shells and Cheese without even stopping for air. Try it sometime. You’ll feel better. For at least five minutes.
- 2 boxes Velveeta Shells and Cheese
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 2 tablespoons dried onion
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- Prepare shells and cheese according to package directions.
- Brown ground chuck and add dried onion, tomatoes and smoked paprika. Mix with the shells and cheese.
- Put in a casserole dish and top with dried bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.