Canned macaroni and beef may be convenient, but it’s high in sodium and typically contains refined pasta and no vegetables. This quick, easy makeover boosts the nutrition while preserving the taste of this childhood favorite.
Makes 6 Servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1½ cups)
8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (90% or higher)
One 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces dried whole wheat rotini pasta
1 cup shredded light Italian cheese blend or Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Chopped fresh basil, optional
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat if the vegetables brown too quickly.
2. Add the meat and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
3. Stir in the pasta sauce and water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil as desired.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 400 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated), 580mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 31g protein, 30% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 20% calcium, 25% iron