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Cafeteria Bake

Take yourself back to the cheery days of childhood! Eagerly waiting for the lunch bell, ready to spring down to the cafeteria for a hot lunch... something just like this Cafeteria Bake, in fact! Filled with a tangy, sweet, and smoky sauce that makes Sloppy Joes so sloppy, this beefy bake is hearty and heartwarming. Tender pasta and melty cheese are always welcome in the Cafeteria Bake, but it's the inclusion of hamburger buns that really captures that Sloppy-Joe-like, fresh-from-the-lunch-line feeling! Nostalgia tastes so magical in this casserole!
Prep Time 55 minutes
Servings 6


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups Muenster cheese shredded
  • 2 hamburger buns finely chopped
  • fresh parsley leaves to taste, for garnish


  • Step 1 -Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Step 2 -Lightly grease a 7x11-inch baking dish.
  • Step 3 -Cook the macaroni in salted boiling water, 3 minutes less than al dente, according to the package directions.
  • Step 4 -Drain the macaroni.
  • Step 5 -In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
  • Step 6 -Add the ground chuck and cook, while crumbling, until browned, about 6 minutes.
  • Step 7 -Drain the excess grease.
  • Step 8 -Stir in the bell pepper, the onion, the carrots, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper and cook until the peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 9 -Stir in the tomato sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, the brown sugar, the dry mustard, and the water, stirring to combine.
  • Step 10 -Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 11 -Add the macaroni to the meat mixture and stir to combine.
  • Step 12 -Pour the meat-macaroni mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top it evenly with the Muenster cheese and the hamburger bun pieces.
  • Step 13 -Bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden-brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Step 14 -Garnish with the parsley leaves.
  • Step 15 -Serve.
Keyword hamburger, macaroni
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