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Top 3% Beefaroni 2.01 Sadie, Sadie

“Grandma, I can't believe you found the recipe for Beefaroni.” “It wasn't easy. Antonia thought I'd gone insane.” “Well…” “No one needs a comment from you.”


  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (alternatively, you can chop up 28 oz of fresh tomatoes)

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped finely

  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped finely

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp red pepper chili flakes

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Add the tomatoes to a large saucepan and place over medium high heat.

  3. Add the garlic, herbs, red pepper, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Allow sauce to come to a boil. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. Once fully cooked, drain the meat.

  5. After the sauce has simmered, add the meat and the cooked macaroni. Stir to combine and allow to cook together for a couple minutes.

  6. Remove the beefaroni mixture from the heat. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread half of the mixture across the bottom. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Spread the remaining mixture on top of the layer with cheese. Then top with the remaining cheese.

  7. Cook at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned.

I seriously love the smell of fresh herbs, and this sage was stellar.

Here we are at season 2! I had to choose between homemade beefaroni and homemade twinkies for the season premiere because that’s what Rory requested for her special Top 3% meal. I never really liked twinkies growing up, so beefaroni won. Although, it’s very possible I just didn’t like store bought twinkies, and I would have loved homemade ones. I also make a lot of desserts for this project, and while I definitely have a sweet tooth, I want to include savory dishes when I can.

I loved sitting down with a little can of Chef Boyardee when I was a kid. Although beefaroni wasn’t my favorite. I loved the regular beef ravioli, but the staple at our house growing up was the ABC's 123’s. My sister and I would split a can of that with some frozen taquitos or chicken nuggets and slices of cucumber and park it in front of Nickelodeon. Memories. Although, I recently read a book in which the author called it alphabeti spaghetti because that’s what they have in the UK. And even though the actual name is ABC’s 123’s, alphabeti spaghetti is way cuter, and I’m a little sad we never called it that growing up.

I was tempted to eat the beefaroni at this stage because I was HUNGRY!

Ah, but anyway, this post is about one Chef Boyardee product alone, and that is beefaroni. I think what’s missing in the original beefaroni is a cheesy element. Obviously it would be processed cheese, but you’re not eating Chef Boyardee for the quality ingredients. That’s what I like about this dish, though, is that it’s smothered in cheesy goodness. I think this would be really good with some feta or goat cheese crumbles mixed in, but due to the current TikTok trend, feta (and a lot of goat cheese) is basically sold out everywhere. My local grocery store was also sold out of fresh basil. I really want to grow my own herb garden, but I do not have a green thumb. I substituted the fresh basil with a teaspoon of dried, but nothing beats fresh basil.

So this dish is clearly not 9x13. I made my beefaroni in 2 pans because this one is aesthetic.

As I mentioned in my post for the season one finale, I don’t like that Max isn’t even there for his proposal to Lorelai, and this episode starts with Lorelai unsure if she wants to say yes to the proposal. The conversation that she has with Rory in the opening scene does not bode well for her future with Max Medina. I’m not quite sure why she even says yes to him only to have their relationship fizzle out a few episodes later. I think the scene when Lorelai does agree to marry Max, and she and Rory squeal and jump around (much to Emily’s dismay) is really cute. But that’s simply because of the squealing and jumping not because of her agreeing. I frequently use the gif of the girls jumping for joy and hugging because it’s such a relatable moment.

I do relish the scene in which Luke all but says that Lorelai and Max getting married is a stupid idea. And it’s not just because he loves her, but because they’re one, not suited for each other, and two, they don’t know each other well enough to be getting married. She should know where the coupon drawer is, damnit! The phone call between Max and Lorelai is supposed to tell us that they’ll have these conversations, but he hasn’t even seen her closet yet! How are you supposed to marry someone who hasn’t even seen your closet?!?

So Rory and Dean are officially back together sigh. We now have to watch their relationship awkwardly ebb and flow over the next season and 7 episodes. Personally, I think this is dragged on for way too long. I gag just about every time I hear the lines, “this whole breaking up thing, we tried it.” “so it's decided, breaking up, not for us.” “I mean, hey, not that it's a bad thing. I'm sure some people like it.” And that’s all I’m really going to say about them getting back together.

Just look at all.that.cheeeese.

A scene that I both love and hate is when our beefaroni is front and center. Emily and Richard meeting Dean for the first time is such a dynamic scene. While I don’t think it’s fair for Richard to have formed such a strongly negative opinion of Dean from the get go, I do see where he’s coming from, even if his execution is poor. As we see throughout the course of this season, Dean is a whiny little bitch baby when Rory wants to do anything other than spend time with him (more on this in the next post). I think that Richard was wary of Dean being like this and so his disapproval of Dean does hold weight. But his silent treatment and then third degree of Dean makes me squirm. It’s just so...uncomfortable.

Is there anything better than warm, gooey cheese?

Although not as uncomfortable as the scene towards the end of the episode when Sookie spills the beans to Emily about Lorelai’s engagement. Sweet Sookie is just trying to invite her best friend’s parents to her own wedding shower but unknowingly informs Emily that her only daughter is getting married. Emily’s hurt expression kills me every time, and when she tells Richard to apologize to Rory because when she gets married she wants Rory to tell them, it’s like a dagger right in the heart. I get that Lorelai wants to tell her parents on her own terms, but I can’t help but feel for Emily in this scene.

And here we go, season 2! I’m so excited to share my next round of dishes with you all. We have some Gilmore classics on deck and a few that I’m a little anxious about conquering the challenge. Nevertheless, it should be a fun ride! Let me know what your guesses are for some season 2 dishes below.

Happy Cooking!

Enjoy your beefaroni in any bowl. Me? I had mine in a cute mini casserole dish!

If you missed what I made last time, catch up here!


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