Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today's Lunch-Hamburger Helper

I love casseroles, and from what I can remember, I always have.  My Mom always cooked dinners from scratch, so we didn't have Hamburger Helper.  We had ham casserole, hamburger casserole, tuna casserole-you get the idea.  I didn't know "Helpers" existed until I was in college, and oh, how fond of them I became.  It wasn't until 2-3 years ago that I actually read the ingredient label.  OMGoodness!  Ewww!  I decided that we weren't going to have any more boxed meals.

OK, so I decide to say "no" to boxed meals, now what?  Again, my Mom comes to my rescue when she found a Hamburger Helper seasoning mix recipe.  It's a batch mix that you add to ground beef and other ingredients to make your own Hamburger Helper.  I made my first batch and my whole family loves it.  Now, I try not to let myself run out, because it is a fast, healthy meal that I can prepare in about 30 minutes.

Hamburger Helper Seasoning Mix (makes enough for 3-4 meals)
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1/2 cup minced onion
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
3 1/2 Tbsp. beef bullion crystals

Since the beef bullion is not the healthiest of options, I think the next time I make a batch I will leave this out and cook with beef broth to see if I notice any difference in taste.

Variations of Hamburger Helper
Cheeseburger Helper
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup pasta (We are pasta people and I like to stretch my meat, so I use a pound!)
1/2 cup seasoning mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of water (obviously more if you use extra pasta)

Mix together and simmer, covered, until pasta is tender, adding water as needed.

Chili Mac Hamburger Helper
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup pasta
1/2 cup seasoning mix
1 cup water

Follow above directions.

Other ways to use seasoning mix
Potato version: ground beef, sliced potatoes, homemade cream of mushroom soup and cheddar cheese
Taco:  ground beef, brown rice, black beans, chili powder, paprika, cheddar cheese and sour cream
Mock Stuffed Pepper Cups:  ground beef cooked with diced peppers and onions, brown rice, diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese

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