Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From the Kitchen: Cheeseburger Helper

I made three awesome things in two days and couldn't decide which one to post. It turned out to be Cheeseburger Helper, just because it can be a complete meal if you want it to be. There's a story behind why I made this, too!

A friend was coming up to stay the night with us on Saturday night, and he said he'd bring his grill and make hamburgers. When he got here, he had most of his grill, but not the part that held the fire. Problem! Four pounds of ground beef (raised by him, too) all thawed, and no grill on which to cook it. He suggested going and getting some boxes of Hamburger Helper from the store, and I chastised him for it. Why buy the boxed crap full of preservatives and who-knows-what else when I can make the same thing for much less with stuff I have in my kitchen already? A quick search led me to an easy recipe for this, and it was easily doubled and fed me, my husband, and two friends. That's three guys and me.

Cheeseburger Helper
What you'll need:
1 Lb. ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup macaroni noodles
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cheddar cheese

What you'll do:
Brown and drain the ground beef. Add everything except the cheese. Bring it to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for nine minutes. Add the cheese, give it a good stir, cover it again, and simmer three minutes longer. Remove it from the heat, uncover it, and let it stand for five minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve!

This makes enough to feed four as the main dish, and it's better than the stuff from the box.


Friday, April 8, 2011

From the Kitchen: Chicken Noodle Soup... In a Crock Pot!

So, I worked a full 8 hours yesterday, and I really didn't want to be in the kitchen forever when I got home. Perfect time for a crock pot meal! Super easy, and one of the better things I've made in a while.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
You will need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
6-8 slices bacon, chopped up
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. basil
1 t. black pepper
2 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
8 c. water
12 oz. egg noodles

What you'll do:
Toss everything except the noodles into the crock pot. Just throw it all in there as-is. Don't worry about chunking up the chicken yet. Put the lid on, turn it on high, and walk away for 4 hours. At the end of 4 hours, grab a metal spoon and chop the chicken up into bite-sized chunks while still in the pot. Add the egg noodles. Put the lid on, and cook for another hour.

Josh ate it with cheese on top, I ate it without. It was good both ways. Very, very flavorful. Very, very easy. I ran two heroics and did a bunch of other things while this was cooking and didn't even think about having something on in the kitchen, which was nice.