Monday, October 1, 2007

Hamburger Helper Inspirations

I'm not afraid to admit it - I like Hamburger Helper. In college and law school, when I barely had any time or cooking skills, I made it frequently. However, I know how full of sodium and preservatives it is, so I basically never eat it anymore. Tonight, I decided to try my hand at a homemade version. I was impressed with the concoction.

Italian-style Shells
Inspired by Hamburger Helper

*I didn't really pay attention to my measurements, so the following is just an estimate.*

1 lb ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onions, diced fine
salt & pepper to taste
Marinara sauce (I used my homemade stuff, recipe below)
Uncooked pasta shells (probably about 1 1/2 or 2 cups)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef with onions & garlic. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Drain off any excess fat and return to pan.

Add about 2 cups marinara sauce and uncooked pasta. The sauce should be fairly thin at this point. Add water if necessary. I think I added about a cup of water.

Bring to a boil. Stir, and reduce heat. Simmer, covered for about 15-20 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Stir a few times during cooking. If it gets too dry, add a bit more water.

Top with shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Marinara Sauce

*All measurements of spices are estimates*

2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups diced tomatoes, with juices
1/2 cup onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP flat leaf parsley, chopped.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
1 TBSP sugar
2 bay leaves

In large pot, combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water. Stir.

Add EVOO, onions, garlic, & parsley. Stir.

Add seasonings and stir.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hr. Stir a couple times during cooking. Remove bay leaves before serving.

**When I make this sauce for spaghetti, I drain the tomatoes before serving and add a couple TBSP of tomato paste - the above is what I use for baked pastas.**

No comments: