Friday, March 2, 2012

Homemade Ground Beef "Helpers"

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Raw Ground beefImage via WikipediaAbout 0ne-fourth of the United States food shoppers say that speed and easy preparation are their most important considerations when they buy food. That's why meals-in-a-box have become so popular.

But, these convenient foods pose problems. They are usually high in fat and sodium..two items that most of us would like to reduce in our diets. These foods are also expensive. In a typical dinner, you may find a few cents worth of noodles, a packet of spices and a sauce mix. You add the milk and the meat..the two most costly ingredients. And, after a while, these dinners are boring.

Another way to save time is by using mixes. But instead of buying the mixes already made, try preparing some of your own. If you make them in large batches, not only will you save money, but you will also save time. As an added benefit, you control the nutritional value of the mix.

Use the following recipes for Homemade Ground Beef Helper to save you time and money.
Serve all of these one-skillet dinners with a dark green tossed salad side dish and fresh fruit for dessert.

Homemade Ground Beef Helper

2 cups nonfat dry "instant" milk
1 cup corn starch
1/4 cup unsalted chicken or beef bouillon powder
2 tablespoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Use the above "Helper" mix as a base for the following dinners. (each serves 4-6 people)

Chili Tomato Mac
Brown one pound ground beef or turkey and drain off fat. Add one cup of water, 1-1/2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni, 2 (15 ounce cans) diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon chili powder (more or less to taste) and 1/2 cup of the "Helper" mix. Simmer covered 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender.

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Brown one pound ground beef or turkey and drain off fat. Add 2 cups water, 1/2 cup "Helper" mix and two cups uncooked medium egg noodles and stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Top with 1/2 cup sour cream. Serve immediately.

Hearty Potato Casserole

Brown one pound ground beef or turkey and drain off fat. Add 3/4 cup water, six peeled potatoes sliced very thin, one cup frozen mixed peas and carrots and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the "Helper" mix. Simmer covered for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir, uncover, and cook until the excess water is evaporated.

Skillet Lasagna

In a large skillet, brown one pound lean ground beef until crumbly. Drain off fat and add 1/2 cup of the "Helper" mix, 1 chopped onion, two cups water, 16 ounces of tomato sauce, 3 cups dry egg noodles and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring until thickened. Top with 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese five minutes before serving: turn off heat, stop stirring and allow cheese to melt.
Serve with garlic toast and a salad.

The Old Guy

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