Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Hamburger Helper

I love cooking. I cook mostly from scratch, which started due to Scarlett's food intolerances and grew into a way of life. On occasion, I try to recreate convenience foods and it's always a toss up whether it will be a success.

I have recently decided that we will consume even less meat than we already were, cutting back to maybe once or twice a month. Using up the meat in the freezer may be setting my husband up for a let-down, but that's what I'm doing. Tonight's menu was "Hamburger Helper" and green beans from our CSA last year. The beans have been in our freezer since last July and need to be eaten before they start rolling in again!  

I am still very much in the process of teaching myself to cook. There is typically at least one disaster and we often eat meals that aren't so tasty. Last night's dinner was no different in that aspect. Suddenly, in the middle of the recipe, I realize that the rest of the ingredients are not going to fit into the skillet I've chosen... oops!

After switching skillets, I completed the meal and it ended up being delicious (which is good since there is enough for leftovers and we only refuse leftovers if the meal is awful!)


  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
  • 1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

    1. Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.
    2. Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
    3. Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. 

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