Turkey, Cheese, and Noodle Bake

Remember beefaroni?  I am not sure what gave beefaroni such a bad reputation, but I often heard it referred to as barfaroni growing up.  Now how can you like something with a name like that?  Even if it is the most delicious food you have ever eaten.

I decided that it was time to serve this retro dish to my kids – and see if it deserved the barfaroni nick-name.  Instead of making something up, I decided to dig deep into my old recipes.  I wanted to find something that was a little more like mac-n-cheese with meet and a tomato base.  I couldn’t believe it, but I found the perfect dish.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light, although I adapted it slightly below.

The girls loved it – it was creamy like mac-n-cheese with a nice tomato flavor and the ground meat gave it some bite (and a little protein).  The best part was that neither of them knew that there was shredded carrots in the sauce – which made it almost sweet tasting.  This is great for a crowd, because it made a lot.  At least a few nights worth of food in our household.  Serve this with a salad, and you have a the perfect well-balanced retro meal – and I promise no one will call it barfaroni.


  • 1  (8-ounce) package small elbow macaroni
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  shredded carrot
  • 2  teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1  pound ground turkey
  • 1  cup  tomato sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  fat-free milk
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2  cups  (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.

Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 cup cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Turkey Cheese and Noodle Bake

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6 thoughts on “Turkey, Cheese, and Noodle Bake

  1. I feel like beefaroni got a bad rep because it was traditionally served as school cafeteria food. Need I say more?

    This version though is fantastic. Total comfort food.

  2. The only memory i have of Beefaroni is that I lost my first tooth while eating some. Never ate any ever again. I would definitely love to try this version though!

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