Monday, December 7, 2009

Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

This recipe comes from Erin at $5 Dinners, however, her recipe lists ideas for making this dish dairy free and gluten free. If you are interested in these versions, check out her post here. This dish was really easy to make and we loved it! Yum!!!

Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped (I used 2 Tbl dehydrated chopped onion)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I used about 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
3 Tbl butter or margarine
3 Tbl flour
3 cups milk (I used 3 cups water plus 3/4 cup powdered milk)
1 cup water
2 cups pasta (I used elbow macaroni, but any bite-sized pasta would work)
Salt & pepper, to taste
***I also added 1-1/2 cups shredded, cheddar cheese

In large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Season with pepper. Once fully cooked, drain and rinse ground beef. Do not return beef to the skillet. Yet.

In same skillet, add margarine or butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a paste. Quickly whisk in milk until no clumps remain. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Once sauce starts to thicken, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of pasta. Stir through. Add 1 lb. of meat and mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta shells have cooked through. Stir often. (This is the point that I added the cheese. Just stir well to distribute and melt the cheese.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken slightly after removing from heat.

Variations (as notated by Erin on her website):
You could change this up a number of ways. Add cheese if you like. Or add taco seasoning with the water. Or both. Toss in some frozen vegetables while it’s cooking. This is really a basic meal that can be modified in many ways!

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