Crock-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

When I was a poor, single girl, this was my favorite variety of that “just add hamburger” stuff in a box. This version is almost as easy, and far more tasty (with ingredients you can pronounce that are probably in your kitchen right now!)
  • 1.25 to 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups dried macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika*
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Brown ground beef in skillet on high; drain. Pour into slow cooker. Add tomato sauce, seasonings, and water; heat on low until 30 minutes before ready to serve (at least 2 hours; switch to warm setting if it looks overheated). Add noodles, stir and cover for 30 minutes or until noodles are done; turn off heat and stir in milk and cheese. Serve when cheese has melted and incorporated; add more milk if needed to desired consistency. Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.
(You can also easily make this completely in a skillet; just add macaroni with tomato sauce and water, and continue as indicated above once noodles are done.)
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*(Note: you can transform this into Chili Mac by substituting 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp chili powder for the paprika.)
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