At first glance, this dish should be the definition of crowd-pleasing: a casserole pan teeming with curly noodles, tender ground beef, tangy pickles, and salty bacon, all held together with American cheese and a sweet tomato sauce. A combination of your favorite fast-food guilty pleasure and a weeknight pasta dinner—what could top that?
Element of Distress
Talk about wasted potential. These all-star ingredients, which show so much promise in other applications, actually produce a goopy mess with chewy meat pellets and mushy pasta. Most times, we’d rather hit the drive-thru than waste our time preparing the dish.
Line of Attack
For a recipe that was big on flavor but short on prep time, we’d start with convenience products—like canned tomato sauce—and augment them with spices and seasonings. We’d also find a way to coordinate the different cooking times for different ingredients.