Thursday, August 6, 2009

Homemade Hamburger Helper

One of the first things I learned how to cook was a hamburger helper. When you are twelve or thirteen, learning how to brown meat is a big thing. Then you just sort of pour in the rest of the ingredients from the box, add water and viola! Dinner. With the powdered "flavor" you add to the dish you are also adding a myriad of preservatives and other un-pronounceable "ingredients." I'm not saying that I don't like Hamburger Helper, because I do (and I really love one of the Tuna Helper flavors) but honestly it isn't that hard to recreate all from scratch. And it just tastes Num Num Num as my twin toddlers say.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

1 package of ground beef or turkey (my package was 1.25lbs)
3-4 potatoes
1/2 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
5-6 large button mushrooms
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 cups of beef broth
1/4 cup flour

*Other things that would be tasty additives would be peas, chopped zucchini or spinach

Dice onion very small and place in skillet that you've sprayed with non-stick spray. Set stove to medium heat. Mince mushrooms and add them to the onion. Chop and add garlic. Increase heat to medium high. Add meat and brown, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon so it crumbles. Add seasonings: dried oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf (salt & pepper to taste.) While meat is browning, slice potato into very thin 1/8" or less slices. This is great application for your mandolin if you have one! Put the potato slices in the skillet with the meat and vegetables.

In a small bowl whisk together flour and beef broth until there are no lumps. Pour over meat and potatoes carefully stirring the dish to make sure that none of the potatoes stick together. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 45min or until potatoes are done.

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