Well, if there’s one thing we love coming home to after the end of a long, busy day, it’s got to be a home-cooked meal. Most of the time we can whip up well-balanced meals that are practical and healthy, but sometimes all we want is just a belly-warming comfort food meal to help us forget about all the hustle and bustle of our days. This Sloppy Joe Mac ‘N Cheese is truly comfort in a skillet. We jokingly call it “fusion” food because it fuses two of our favorite comfort food meals into one amazing dish.
We start with our usual sloppy joe ingredients, ground meat, tomato sauce, savory Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and just for some excitement a little bit of chili powder for some heat. From time to time, we like to use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Ground turkey is just a little bit lighter without compromising the overall sloppy joe beef experience. We add even more flavor with some diced onion and minced garlic to complete the mouthwatering flavor profile.
Then it’s on to the mac ‘n cheese part, and this isn’t complicated at all. We’re not making our usual mac n’ cheese but we can give a nod to it with elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese. We add macaroni and water to the same skillet as the sloppy joe mix. Once the noodles are ready, then we can add the cheese and give everything a good stir, then cover it with a lid to help melt the cheese.
There’s no need to stand on ceremony with this dish, no formal serving dish required, which is why we bring the skillet directly to the dinner table and scoop out cheesy spoonfuls of this amazing fusion dish. Our Sloppy Joe Mac ‘N Cheese is one of those meals that everyone absolutely loves, and it’s hard to actually keep any leftovers, but trust us, if there are any leftovers it tastes even better the next day. The best part of some of our favorite comfort foods is that they’re not fancy or ingredient-heavy, which is why we love this combination of sloppy joes and mac ‘n cheese – two simple meals that come together in one absolutely delicious comfort meal.
Sloppy Joe Mac 'N Cheese
45 minutes to prepare serves 4-6
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 2-3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- In a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet, brown ground beef or turkey. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat from the skillet to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain excess grease, return meat the skillet. Add the onions and sauté until softened.
- Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, chili powder (if using), and salt. Stir until combined.
- Add elbow macaroni and 2 ¼ cups water to skillet, stirring to combine. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Add more water if needed to cook pasta. Stir frequently until pasta is cooked to desired texture.
- Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and cover again, 5 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
- Optional: Serve directly from the skillet.
Recipe adapted from Kitchen Magpie.