Tag Archives: Main Dish

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.


  • 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


  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)


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

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.



  • 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.



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

Homemade Corn Dogs (and Hush Puppies!)

2 Jan

corn dogs

I had a hankering for corn dogs the other day and thought I’d try my hand at making some! I stumbled upon this recipe and have to say it was a real winner. These were so easy to make and tasted great!  I only made 8 corn dogs and had enough batter left over to make about 12 hush puppies. Perfect!

So just a couple of tips for you to make the process a bit easier. After rolling the hot dogs in flour, I ran my hand over each one to ensure an even, smooth coating. When adding milk to the batter, I added just enough so that it ran off a spoon in a steady stream without breaking. Then to dip the hot dogs, I poured the batter into a tall glass so it was easier to fully submerge them. I then used the extra batter and a cookie scoop to make a bunch of little hush puppies (Sylvie LOVED these). I think next time I might make little corn puppies… cut up my hot dogs into thirds before coating with batter. No sticks and easy eating, especially for kids!


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 ¾ cups flour (plus enough to coat hot dogs)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • 16 hot dogs
  • 16 wooden skewers
  • oil (for frying)


  1. Heat 2″ deep oil to 375º F.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add egg and just enough milk so the batter runs off a spoon in a steady stream without breaking. (Too much milk, and batter wont stay on hot dogs, too little and your batter when fried will be cracked).
  3. Dry off hot dogs with paper towels, coat with flour, and skewer through the center of the hot dog.
  4. Dip skewered hot dogs into batter mix (batter may be poured into a tall glass for easier dipping) and rotate to coat evenly. Allow excess batter to drip from end before carefully placing in hot oil. Fry until golden brown (about 2 ½ minutes). Let cool and drain on a paper towel.
  5. Drop leftover batter like dumplings into the oil until golden brown and drain.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Chicken Yakisoba

8 Dec

2013-12-07 19.12.52

It was Saturday night and we were hungry.  I didn’t have any meals planned out so I went to my Pinterest board to see if there was anything I could make with stuff I already had. I’d seen an easy looking recipe for some sort of Ramen noodle stir-fry a couple days before and was happy to see that I could scrounge up enough of the ingredients to give it a fair go.

I made a couple minor adjustments, which I didn’t think hurt the final result at all. First, I didn’t have any cabbage so I didn’t use that, but I would definitely add it next time because cabbage in stir-fry rocks. I also decided to use 3 packages of noodles instead of just 2 because darn it I really like noodles and I typically eat 2 packages myself when I eat them as normally prepared. Plus I figured extra noodles were a good substitution for the missing cabbage! Oh and I also used leftover turkey because we still had some left. Nice change from turkey soup and the like. I just threw it in after the veggies were done cooking so it could heat through. I wouldn’t hesitate to omit the meat completely or substitute some tofu instead.

I must say I was incredibly happy with how this turned out. It had a ton of flavor but wasn’t overwhelming. Even Sylvie liked the noodles. This one is going in my keeper file for quick easy pantry meals.

Go to Recipe

Veggie Pot Pie

25 Nov

vegan pot pie

This recipe came from a vegan cookbook I recently acquired. Now I’d made a recipe or two from the book before this one and was pretty underwhelmed with the results. So, I wasn’t expecting much from this. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this vegan version of one of my favorite comfort foods was just as delicious as its chicken-based sister.

As far as the prep for this recipe goes, don’t let the seemingly long list of ingredients/steps put you off. It really didn’t take that long to do and the results were well worth it. I would also stress proper preparation of the tofu. Make sure you press out all excess liquid to get the best texture. It’ll give you the most chicken-like results. I have to say that I was very pleased when Sylvie picked out all the tofu and ate it before anything else. Oh and I fully plan on preparing the “breaded” sautéed tofu like this in the future. It was really tasty stuff. I’d say this was my first successful tofu experience. Will definitely make this again.

Mushroom Gravy

  • 2 cups vegetable broth (can substitute 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms, diced
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • flour

Mix all ingredients except flour in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Slowly add flour a Tablespoon at a time and whisk well after each addition, until gravy thickens up to your liking. Season with black pepper as desired.

Veggie Pot Pie

  • 2 Pie Crusts
  • 1 recipe Mushroom Gravy
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups firm tofu, squeezed dry and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a pie plate with one of the pie crusts and bake for 10-15 minutes, until just starting to brown slightly.

Combine flour, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Place in a paper bag or medium-sized container with tofu and shake or toss well to coat tofu.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté tofu until lightly browned, then add the onion, celery, and carrot. Continue to sauté until the onions are soft, then add the mixed vegetables and cook until they’re slightly tender but still crisp. This should only take another 5-10 minutes.

Add the gravy to mixture in the skillet and stir well, then transfer as much as will fit in the pie plate containing the baked pie crust. Cover with the second unbaked pie crust. Seal the edges by pressing together with a fork. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until top crust is lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from “Hot Damn and Hell Yeah: Recipes for Hungry Banditos” 

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