Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta

Taste of Home Best of Comfort Food Diet

Cover Recipe- Best of Comfort Food Diet, Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta: copyright 2013

I have a little problem. Every time I go to Costco, I have this urge to buy a new cookbook. And most times, that urge wins. The newest addition? Taste of Home’s Best of Comfort Food Diet Cookbook.

I have to be honest. When I first bought this cookbook, I had no idea it was a “diet” cookbook. I should have known – it was the beginning of January, and every other cookbook on sale that day was a low calorie, no sugar or low carb cookbook. But all I saw was “comfort food.” It wasn’t until I got home and I actually spent some time going through it that I realized that the book was full of better for you recipes. But that’s ok, because I can always use more recipes that won’t undo all the work I did working out that morning.

I was especially excited to try the cover recipe – this Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta. More than once, I’ve loved cheeseburger themed recipes, and this one looked like it would be truly family friendly. Pasta, beef, cheese – what’s not to love? Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta

Print Print Recipe

Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 30 min


1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne
3/4 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 can (14 1/2 oz) no-salt added diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
chopped green onions, for serving


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef and the onion until the meat is no longer pink. Drain if needed. Add the drained pasta to the beef.

3. Add in the tomatoes, relish, mustard, ketchup, steak seasoning and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with cheese. Cover until the cheese has melted. Serve garnished with the green onions.


*I needed to add salt to the final dish. You'll want to taste it before serving to check the seasoning.
*Don't use fat-free cheese. I think it's worth the extra calories to use the good stuff!!
*Use dill pickle relish - not sweet relish. If you don't have dill pickle relish, you could probably just use some finely chopped dill pickles.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 391
Fat per serving: 12g
Saturated Fat per serving: 6g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">759mg
Fiber per serving: 4g
Protein per serving: 28g
Cholesterol per serving: 57mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 43g

Source: Taste of Home ">The Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

The results:

I am all for cutting back on calories where you can. I think this recipe has the potential to be really good. But it had a couple of strikes against it. First, I will totally admit that I’m not always in love with whole wheat pasta. I will use it occasionally, but I usually only think it’s good when there is not a lot of sauce to combat the different texture from the whole wheat pasta. Second – the recipe calls for reduced-fat cheese, and I couldn’t find any reduced-fat cheese. I didn’t want to go completely against the recipe, so I bought fat-free cheese. I think that was the biggest mistake I made. I would gladly take the extra calories from regular cheddar cheese!! But overall, I think it was a good recipe. Definitely family friendly, and if your family is used to whole wheat pasta, this would be a home run (minus the fat-free cheese!)

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

I’m not sure it deserves the cover, just because I wasn’t completely blown away by it, but it was good!

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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8 Responses to “Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta”

  1. 1

    Jennifer — February 5, 2014 @ 10:45 am

    If you ever need “lowfat” cheese…Cabot 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar block is my go to all the time. It melts like a DREAM and you’d NEVER know it was reduced fat. It is a block and you do have to shred it yourself but honestly it is SO good it is ALL we use. And this is from a mom that works FT out of the home as well as trying to making good dinners at home too.

    • Deborah Harroun replied: — February 5th, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

      I’m totally going to try that. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. 2

    Marcia D — February 5, 2014 @ 11:46 am

    While I like the “bite” of whole wheat pasta, my dh does not. We have reached a compromise in our house and I use what they refer to as “smart pasta”. Where I live, it’s made by Catelli, and in the states I think Ronzoni makes it. I would describe it as a healthier white pasta. Give it a try a try & let me know what you think.

    • Deborah Harroun replied: — February 5th, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

      I’m going to look for that – sounds like something we might like!

  3. 3

    Debbie — February 5, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

    I agree on whole wheat pasta, can’t get past the texture and hubby won’t eat it so I buy SMART pasta that has lots of fiber but looks the same as regular pasta!

    • Deborah Harroun replied: — February 5th, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

      I think that’s a compromise I could do!

  4. 4

    Lori S — February 9, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

    I made this tonight for the family. I did have to tweek a few things. As for the “steak seasoning”, I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be a dry or liquid ingredient. So, I used 1 Tbsp of BBQ sauce as a sub. Plus, I am not a fan of whole wheat pasta. So, I used 1/2 cup gluten-free pasta and 1 cup Dreamfields Low Carb pasta. It was good. However, my son who is not a fan of mustard, could really taste the mustard. But, he ate two servings anyway.

  5. 5

    Betty Everding — February 26, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

    Fixed this for dinner tonight..awesome this is a keeper at our house..

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