Sunday, April 7, 2013

Better Than Hamburger Helper

I really wanted Hamburger Helper, however all I had in the cabinet was Chicken Helper. Being pregnant and knowing what I wanted, that simply would not suffice. So- I attempted to make it myself, from scratch. I just kept tasting and adding until I thought I had it pretty right. I plated, handed it to Mike and asked what he thought. One bite in, "do you have any more?" "Yes, are you super hungry?" "No, this is effing amazing and you should have made more." "Thanks, is it better than Hamburger Helper?" "Absolutely." WOOT!

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb pasta
1 tsp dried, minced onion
4 oz (1/3 of a small can) tomato paste (I use Hunt's 6oz can with basil, garlic and oregano)
1 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I had Kraft on hand)
1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded ( I had Sargento on hand)
1/3-1/2 c grated parmesan cheese (Kraft again)
1 1/2 c fat free half and half
1 c water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp dried, ground mustard
1 pinch oregano

In a medium sauce pan, cook pasta as directed on box, drain and set aside. In a large skillet pan, brown meat with the dried onion, season if desired (I always season my ground beef with a little bit of Crazy Jane's Mixed Up Seasoning Salt, no matter what recipe I'm making). Drain and return to the pan. Over medium heat, mix in tomato paste, water, half and half, and cheeses. Add pasta, and remaining ingredients. Heat, stirring continuously until sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Again, I didn't measure anything, of course, because I almost suspected that we'd be throwing it out. Next time I try this, I'll measure everything and take pictures.
WAIT! Here's a picture of the aftermath... :D
Minestrone-esque Soup

This is 100% vegetarian, minestrone style soup. It was sooooo good, my husband, with the baby mouth, wouldn't wait for it to cool down to eat it. I kept hearing slurping and quick mouth breathing from his side of the table. hahaha. Weirdo.

Chop all veggies about the same size. All measurements are approximations, unless it says 1 can, etc...
4 tbsp oil (I use olive) 
4 med carrots, chopped
4 med/small yellow potatoes, cubed 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped 

1 yellow squash, chopped
1 lg garlic clove, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 boxes broth (I use Organic Imagine No-Chicken Broth)
1/2 - 3/4 lb green beans (1 can would work) cleaned, snapped into 1 in pieces
1 lb french peas, shelled
3 cups petite farfale pasta, uncooked
3/4 tsp oregano, dried
3/4 tsp basil, dried
3/4 tsp celery salt ( I didn't have celery on hand and it needed salt so I killed 2 birds)

In a 6qt sauce pan, heat oil, add carrots and potatoes, let cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash and onion. Saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Next, add tomatoes and cook 2-3 min., stirring occasionally. 
Add in both beans, peas, broth and seasoning. Season to taste, really.
Cook until all veggies & pasta are tender.