Family Favorite Cheeseburger Pasta

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.

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!