Whether you call it goulash or hamburger macaroni, this hearty dinner is a quick and easy way to fill up your family on a busy weeknight. The delicious combination of pasta, ground beef and tomatoes can’t be beat!
But the best part about this quick recipe idea is that it’s also easy to make ahead. Simply prep your ingredients and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to serve your pasta skillet. After that, all that’s left to do is heat it up and enjoy!
Pasta dishes are family friendly. When you can make them ahead as freezer meals, it’s even better. Some of our favourites include Baked Tortellini Alfredo, Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole (yep, you read that right!), and Baked Manicotti.
Hamburger Macaroni Skillet Recipe
- 2 cups macaroni, cooked slightly under package directions and drained
- 1 pound ground beef, browned
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- salt, pepper
For Day of Cooking:
- shredded cheese (optional)
- Combine the macaroni, ground beef, onion, green pepper, seasoning salt, red pepper flakes, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large freezer bag.
- Squeeze the contents of the bag together to mix the ingredients together.
- Seal the bag and remove excess air. Place the bag in the freezer until you’re ready to eat.
- Transfer the frozen ingredients to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the contents of the bag and stir to mix the ingredients together.
- Allow the mixture to simmer until heated through.
- Top with shredded cheese before serving.
What Goes with Hamburger Macaroni?
This quick make ahead pasta dish is the perfect option for an easy main dish for dinner. But after you prepare your pasta in the skillet, you might also need some side dishes to add to your plate. Try these sides when you serve your sloppy joe dinner.
- Side salads
- Corn on the cob
- Steamed broccoli or cauliflower
- Garlic bread or breadsticks
- Roasted vegetables
- Green beans
- Dinner rolls
Hamburger Macaroni Recipe Variation Ideas
See how simple it is to prepare your own hamburger macaroni skillet at home from scratch? That means you can skip the boxed pasta the next time you’re looking for a quick dinner and make this freezer-friendly recipe instead! And since this dish is so simple to make, you can easily adjust it by adding new ingredients to change up the flavor. Try these recipe additions to take the flavor of your macaroni skillet up a notch.
- Add more cheese. Turn your hamburger macaroni into cheeseburger macaroni with the addition of some Velveeta cheese. On the day of cooking, add cubed Velveeta to the pan with the rest of the ingredients to make a quick and easy cheeseburger macaroni dinner.
- Mix in some veggies. Make your macaroni dish a little healthier with the addition of some vegetables. Add some chopped carrots, zucchini, corn, or peas to the rest of the ingredients and cook according to the recipe instructions.
- Make it gluten free. This recipe can easily be adjusted to be gluten free by swapping the regular macaroni noodles with gluten free macaroni. All the other ingredients are naturally gluten free. If you want to use gluten free noodles, it’s best to cook them up the day of serving to add because cooked gluten free noodles don’t tend to freeze well.
- Substitute ground turkey or chicken. Reduce the fat content of your macaroni skillet by using ground turkey or chicken in place of beef. The recipe can be prepared as written with either substitution.
How Do You Store Hamburger Macaroni?
This make ahead meal is a great option for a busy weeknight because it’s quick and easy to prepare! And since it’s so delicious, I’d be surprised if you have any left after dinner is over. But if you do have a few leftovers to save, you can transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. The pasta can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.
When you’re ready to reheat the hamburger macaroni, it can be warmed up in a skillet or in the microwave.
Does Macaroni Freeze Well?
Pasta is a great option for freezer cooking – especially macaroni! The key to properly freezing macaroni is to cook the pasta before putting in the freezer. This will help you cut down on the amount of prep work you need to do at dinner time and ensure your pasta is cooked through when you’re ready to start eating.
To get your macaroni ready for the freezer, start by boiling the pasta until just before it’s al dente. To give you an idea of how long to boil the pasta, check the box and reduce the cook time by two to three minutes. Slightly undercooking the macaroni noodles will keep them from overcooking when you’re ready to reheat them with the rest of your hamburger macaroni ingredients.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain the water and allow the noodles to cool slightly. Then, you can combine them with the rest of your pasta ingredients. After that, it’s important to allow all the ingredients to cool to room temperature before placing them in the freezer to prevent freezer burn.
When the pasta ingredients are cool, remove as much excess air from the bag or container as you can, then label it with the name of the recipe and the date of freezing. When stored properly, your hamburger macaroni will stay good for up to three months.
- 2 cups macaroni cooked slightly under package directions and drained
- 1 lb. ground beef browned
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1 tsp. parsley
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- shredded cheese optional
Combine the macaroni, ground beef, onion, green pepper, seasoning salt, red pepper flakes, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large freezer bag.
Squeeze the contents of the bag together to mix the ingredients together.
Seal the bag and remove excess air. Place the bag in the freezer until you’re ready to eat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the contents of the bag and stir.
Allow the mixture to simmer until heated through.
Top with shredded cheese before serving if desired.