Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cheeseburger Casserole

A lot of folks have claimed they were the first to cook a hamburger. Who wouldn’t want to be responsible for inventing such a beloved American treat? Sadly, we don’t know who the true burger originator is. 

Common misconception is that the first hamburger was created in Hamburg, Germany. The inspiration for the hamburger came from Hamburg,  Germany, the sandwich concept was invented much later. During the 19th century, Hamburg became famous for their beef, from cows raised in the regional countryside. Hamburg beef was commonly chopped, seasoned and molded into patties. Refrigeration was not yet available, so fresh beef like this had to be cooked immediately. Hamburg beef came with a hefty price tag outside of its native land, and was often substituted with less expensive varieties of beef.

When groups of German immigrants began arriving in America during the 19th century, many earned their living by opening restaurants in large cities like Chicago and New York. It wasn’t long before many of their menus featured an Americanized version of the Hamburg steak, beef that was minced or chopped and combined with garlic, onions, salt and pepper, then grilled or fried. In 1837, New York’s Delmonico’s restaurant offered a Hamburg steak on its first menu. At 10 cents it was the most expensive item, twice the cost of pork chops, veal cutlets and roast beef. A German restaurant at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876 served Hamburg steaks to thousands of customers. Afterwards the dish was in high demand, and could be found in non-German restaurants.

In 1921, Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson opened the first fast food hamburger establishment, White Castle, in Wichita, Kansas. Their main offering was a small 5 cent hamburger, which they encouraged customers to purchase “by the sack.” At that time, in part because of Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, many Americans were concerned with the sanitary practices of the meat industry. White Castle addressed the fears of their customers by furnishing their clean, white decorated restaurants with stainless steel counter tops that could be easily wiped down. Their hamburger meat was ground in plain sight, ensuring patrons that they were paying for a quality meal. Around the same time hamburgers became a popular menu item at roadside diners and soda shops, where they were often served alongside french fries and milkshakes.

Today hamburgers can be found all over the world.
Research Source: The History Kitchen

If you like cheeseburgers, you will like this Cheeseburger Casserole. This delicious dinner gives you all of the taste of an all American burger without all that fat and calories. I think you will like the easy ground beef recipe.

Cheeseburger Casserole
Copyrighted 2014, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (15.5 oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 quart dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large pot of boiling garlic salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ground beef, breaking meat up as it cooks. Season ground beef with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Cook until no longer pink. Reduce heat medium low. Stir in onions, cook about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, ketchup and mustard, stir well.

Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, and add meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with cheese, and bake until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

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