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Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

9 Jun

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Sometimes you just want to have some good old comfort food. For most Americans, Hamburger Helper is/was a common staple at dinner time. Only problem is, it’s full of so much salt and additives that you can’t help but feel a little guilty eating it. This is a homemade version that gets rid of all that yucky junk you don’t need and leaves you with only the yummy cheeseburger goodness you want.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1½ cups macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: 

  1. Brown ground beef in a deep pan or pot (you’ll be adding a lot of liquid). Drain the fat.
  2. Add spices, sugar, hot water, milk, & pasta and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until the pasta is tender.
  4. Add cheddar cheese and turn off the heat. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve.

Adapted from Food.com

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

15 Apr
2014-04-09 17.59.35

I had a pretty picture all set up of the beautiful sauce & meatballs sitting on top of the spaghetti with cheese and then I promptly forgot about the picture and ate it instead. So here’s my half-eaten plate of spaghetti & meatballs!

I don’t know what it is about spaghetti and meatballs that’s so fun. It always just looks so delicious and comforting. Now I typically just make spaghetti with meat sauce, but every once in a while I like to mix it up a bit and do meatballs instead. These meatballs are super easy to make and have a great flavor from using a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the spaghetti sauce is killer too. This whole recipe will probably take close to 2 hours to make, but most of that is for the sauce to simmer. Well worth the time I say.

2014-04-09 16.23.25

For the Meatballs:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands. Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until the seasonings are well blended with the meat. Add the eggs and while mixing, add in the bread crumbs ½ cup at a time (up to 1½ cups) until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.

Form the meat into 1½” balls with your hands and place on a baking sheet so the meatballs are close but not touching. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned. The meatballs will not be fully cooked.  (Start sauce while meatballs are cooking).

Adapted from Food.com

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles

In a large, heavy stockpot, cook the onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Stir in red wine & meatballs.

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for at least an hour. About 10-15 minutes before sauce is ready, cook spaghetti noodles.

Spoon sauce and meatballs over drained spaghetti and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Food.com

Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

13 Apr

2014-03-16 12.48.05

I haven’t made too many Indian meals and thought this would be a quick, easy way to experiment. This had great flavor and was a big hit around here. Even my toddler loved it (which is a rarity). I cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit just to make it more kid-friendly and it still had a good amount of heat. I also shredded my chicken for easier eating. Nice to have something different that wasn’t too “weird”.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (can use frozen)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2  teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (to add at the end)

Directions:

Put chicken in 5 quart or larger slow cooker and add onion, garlic, spices, butter, tomato paste, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks when fully cooked.

Stir in yogurt (or sour cream) 15 minutes before serving.  Salt to taste and serve with white or brown basmati rice.

Adapted from Crockpot 365

Bibimbap

25 Feb

bibimbap

I’d never heard of bibimbap before but it looked so delicious I knew I had to try it. There are a lot of components but none of them are too difficult to put together. This is mainly chopping and cooking glorious amounts of fresh veggies. You really could use just about any kind of veggies you like in here so it’s easily customizable. I would suggest however, that you try to the cucumbers as they added a delightful fresh spiciness to the mix. Have I mentioned I’ve already made this twice?

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Smoked Salmon Frittata with Green Onion Dressing

7 Feb


smoked salmon frittata

This was a delicious, fast meal for a busy work night. You may want to double it up if it’s for the whole family and/or serve with a side salad.

 

Green Onion Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked, drained & rinsed (I usually pour boiling water over mine and soak for about 45 minutes)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

Add the raw cashews to a blender and process until they are finely ground. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides a few times.

Stir through the green onions and season to taste with salt & pepper. Refrigerate to thicken before serving.

Smoked Salmon Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a splash of water
  • 3 – 4 oz smoked salmon, sliced

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil or butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet on stove over medium-low heat. Pour in beaten eggs and swirl pan to evenly distribute in a circle. Cook eggs until they are beginning to pull away slightly from the edges of the pan and only the middle is still liquid.

Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the eggs are just set – they will be firm to the touch, but still spring back to shape. Remove the hot pan from the broiler with oven mitts and slide frittata onto a cutting board or plate.

To serve:

Top frittata with sliced smoked salmon and green onion dressing and garnish with additional green onions if desired.

Adapted from Meatified

Beef Sliders with Jalapeño-Lime Aioli

29 Jan

I have to admit I was mostly intrigued by this recipe because of the use of sweet potato slices as buns. I didn’t think they would be suitable substitutes for bread, but man was I wrong. These little burgers were so dang good. The potatoes added a hint of  sweetness to the burger which was actually incredibly delicious and they held up very well… no breakage. The recipe says to cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise but I didn’t think that made much sense because then they would’ve been regular burger size (or bigger) and weird long ovals.  So I sliced my potatoes into regular rounds (having purposely chosen fatter potatoes). And then there’s the aioli. Holy moly aioli! I wanted to lick the bowl clean and I would have if I could’ve done it without getting mayo in my hair. For those of you that may feed these to kids, the jalapeño wasn’t spicy at all, just an added flavor. Despite the seemingly long list of ingredients and instructions, these were actually fairly quick to make. You really need to make these!

jalapeno lime sliders

Makes 12 Sliders

Sweet Potato “Buns”

  • 2 medium or 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1/8-1/4 inch thick
  • Sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place sweet potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly coated with coconut oil. Season with sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, and Italian seasoning.  Bake approximately 10 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until done.

Let finished sweet potatoes rest for a few minutes.

 

Sliders

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or bacon fat
  • Garnishes (lettuce, onion, tomatoes, pickles)

Season meat with  salt, pepper, and garlic; mix together and with your hands. Divide meat into 12 equal-sized balls and flatten into sliders (about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches across). 

 

Jalapeño-Lime Aioli

  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon diced jalapeño
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a  small bowl.

 

TO ASSEMBLE:

Place a dollop of aioli on one sweet potato “bun” and top with a slider. Add toppings as desired and top with another sweet potato bun. Enjoy!

Adapted from Everyday Paleo

Shrimp-Mango and Avocado-Salmon California Rolls

18 Jan
Shrimp & Mango Roll

Shrimp & Mango Roll

It’s been years since I last tried my hand at making sushi rolls. They turned out okay but were just never as good as the ones I could get at my favorite local sushi place and didn’t seem worth the hassle.

Upon first glance this recipe looked super easy and fast and it had ingredients that weren’t too hard to get. Tiny salad shrimp and smoked salmon? I can do that. Did I mention these don’t use rice? Yep. No sushi rice to cook. Just seafood and veggies. Best part? These were seriously so delicious. Especially the shrimp & mango roll. Just as good as something I’d get at a restaurant. The only change I made was to use half an avocado for each roll instead of 1/2 for two rolls. It just wasn’t enough to coat the nori well enough. I have a feeling I’ve found a new staple around here.

Salmon California Rolls

Salmon Roll

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