Lockdown Meals – Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

If you are reading this article, chances are we are still experiencing lockdown.  You may be going back to work but maybe the bank account still isn’t what it used to be; so, you need to prepare an economical family meal, just until restaurants are fully back up and running.

Last week, we made homemade shrimp fried rice.  This week, we are going to focus on making hamburger helper from scratch.

Ingredients

  • Ground Beef, Turkey, or Vegan Crumbles
  • Chopped Onions
  • Chopped Bell Pepper
  • Lipton Onion Soup
  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Tomato sauce
  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Salt (or seasoning salt) and pepper
  • Chilli powder
  • Cheese (Chedder and mozarella)

Start by preparing the elbow noodles.   Once they cook, drain them let them cool, then set them to the side.  Grab a skillet and place about a tablespoon of oil in the pan and let it get hot.  Start to fry the meat or meat substitute (I say meat substitute because with this meat shortage, we may all become temporary vegans).  You don’t have to do this but I usually add a little Lipton onion soup to the ground meat because it just adds a sensational amount of flavor to the meat.  If you would like to use this, use half of a packet.

Scramble the meat as it browns.  Add a little salt and pepper if you like.  Then start to add the chopped onions and chopped bell peppers to the mix and keep tossing the meat in the skillet with the vegetables.  You can add additional types of vegetables like mushrooms or zuccini squash if you like but I usually just stick to bell pepper and onions.  As the meat is almost completely brown, add some chili powder.  Once the meat is completely done you can drain it if you like.  Otherwise, continue by adding tomato sauce.  I usually use Ragu or Prego brand but if you have another preference, add it.  When you add the tomato sauce, make sure that you only use enough to cover all the meat in the pan.  This is usually about only half of a standard sized jar.  You are not making spaghetti so you don’t want to use a lot of the sauce.  If you like, you can add just a teaspoon of sugar to the mix (some like savory flavored sauce and some like a little bit of sweet in their tomato sauce, so you decide if this step is necessary). Then add the cheese and stir the meat and the sauce.  Make sure that the burner is not too high because the cheese may burn.  Once the cheese, tomato sauce and meat seem to be well incorporated, add the elbow macaroni noodles and continue to stir.  If you like, you can turn the burner down low and cover the skillet and let all the ingredients warm, stirring occasionally.

Once all of the ingredients are hot and everything seems to be evenly incorporated evenly, put the food on your plate or in your bowl and chow down.  You can add some Parmesan cheese on top and heat up some french or garlic bread with the meal if you like.

I hope you like this segment of my blog. Check back for more food ideas during the lockdown.  If you have any questions about preparing this meal, leave them in the comments section or contact me directly here.

 

Image courtesy of ID 35392393 © Msphotographic | Dreamstime.com

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