Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hamburger Helper, are you kidding me?

Okay, the kids love that crap, but the box does not go very far and what are those ingredients?  You can make your own Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna helper in one pot in no time.  

I start with a stir fry pan, but any large saucepan will do.

Start off with browning your meat, chicken, beef, sausage, whatever, tuna..any fish or meat you like...If your vegan, use beans..
  in about 3-4 T of your favorite cooking oil (grapeseed is my go to)
add some spices, garlic, green peppers, whatever you like...
I love cinnamon in my sauce, (grandma always did this, she must have known its a great antioxidant).  I also use garlic, oregano, crushed red peppers, and whatever else I grab.
Cook it up a few mins

Pour in a jar of spaghetti sauce or, if you are out, canned tomatoes, crushed, works great.
Cook up a few mins, until it starts to bubble.

Pour in a jar of water (24 ounces should do it, but you may need to adjust this if it starts to dry out, add more)  Bring to a boil...
Pour in a box of pasta (penne is usually my go to for this) Stir it around, make sure its all pretty much under the liquid
 Put a lid on it and periodically open the lid, check on it, give it a stir.
You will cook this about as long as the pasta directions say to cook it.  Go ahead and pull out a piece to taste when ya think its done.
Turn off the heat...
Open the lid when its done, pour some cheese on it (parmesan cheese, mozzerella, whatever ya like)
Replace lid for a few mins to melt cheese and its done

You can change up the spices to taco seasoning and mexican cheese if you want it to be mexicany.  
Use your imagination.  

You can also use cream sauces but you have to put the water in first, and when the pasta is all but done, add the cream or milk.  and let it reduce a bit. 

You can even start with a pesto instead of tomato sauce.  This is also great with sun dried tomatoes....Just remember to add enough water, the pasta will soak it up.

Another note:  You can add veggies when adding the pasta.  Broccoli and Asparagus are our favs. Chop it up first into bite size pieces.

You don't need recipes to cook.  You can totally wing this any day of the week.  Rachel Ray's 30 min meals take longer than this. Sorry Rach!

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