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Old 04-28-2009, 01:29 PM   #2
velcromom's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: N. Ca Sierra Nevada
Posts: 529
Re: Recipes if you're trying to reduce prepackaged foods

Hamburger Helper Dupe

1lb ground meat, can be turkey or chicken
onion powder
seasoning of your choice, I like Mrs. Dash table blend

6 tbs all purpose flour
6 tbs butter or other oil

2c. stock, chicken or beef

1lb pasta, bowtie or rotini works well

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

Brown the meat in a deep skillet or dutch oven along with the seasoning. When it is cooked, stir in the butter or oil, then sprinkle the flour all over the meat and stir in til no white bits show. Pour in the stock and stir til thickened. Allow to simmer while you cook the pasta. When the pasta is done, drain it well and mix it into the meat sauce and you are ready to serve.

Cheeseburger Helper Option: instead of stock, use milk. Once the mixture is thickened, add grated cheese of your choice til it tastes "cheesy" enough to please your crowd then continue on with cooking and adding the pasta.

Tortilla Casserole Helper Option: use half beef stock, half tomato sauce. Add in a tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of cumin and a pressed clove of garlic. If desired, add in some chili powder to taste (we like chipotle powder!). Instead of using pasta, cut corn tortillas into 1" squares and add to the meat sauce, simmer til they are limp and serve with sour cream, salsa, avocado or what ever your crew likes!

Pilaf (to replace rice-a-roni)

1 tsp butter
3/4 c. brown rice
1/4 c. quinoa
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. italian herb blend

any chopped veggies that you have on hand, can be fresh or leftovers

Put the dry quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and run water over it to rinse well. Set it aside to drain, let it rest on a dishtowel to soak up most of the water.

melt the butter in a med. large skillet and add the brown rice. Toast the rice til most of it has a little color and looks less translucent. Pour in the chicken stock and add the seasonings. Cover, turn to low heat and cook for 30 min.

Add the rinsed, drained quinoa and any veggies you are using. Continue cooking, covered, for another 15 min or til the grains are at the doneness you prefer.

I like to toss in a handful of fresh snipped chives right at the end just before serving, it adds just the right touch. You might also try finely chopped basil and halved cherry tomatoes, very good also.

you can sub in any grain you like as you prefer, adjusting liquid amount and cooking time if necessary.

Alfredo Sauce

1 c. cream
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan

Heat the cream and stir in the cheese. Keep the heat low and stir gently frequently til the cheese is all melted. Add more or less cheese to taste. As it cools the sauce will thicken.

This is great as it is, but you can vary your flavors by tossing in seasonings you enjoy - chopped basil & pressed garlic are two good options.

Stuffing Side Dish (no more boxed stuffing!)

save up leftover slices & ends of stale french bread (or any bread you like, really) til you have enough to more or less fill up a 9X13 baking pan

preheat oven to 400F

1-2c. chicken stock
1 carrot, grated
handful or two of mushrooms, sliced
several celery stalks, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tbs real butter

break up or cut up the bread into chunks (kindergartners come in handy for this) and put it into a large mixing bowl.

Toss in the chopped veggies.

Warm the stock and add the butter and garlic. Drizzle the warm stock mixture over the bread cubes and veggies, stirring them around frequently so that all the bread gets moistened with stock. When the cubes are all moist, but not soggy, put the stuffing into the baking pan and bake - I like to take it out and turn it over once the stuffing on the bottom gets golden brown, because I like the crispy parts.

If you like your stuffing moist and not crispy, you could cover it with foil after it has browned to your liking. At any time if the stuffing seems dry you can drizzle on more stock.

Total cooking time usually runs about 30 min.

An alternative way of cooking this is to pile it on top of meat that you are cooking in the crock pot, but make sure you don't use it in recipes that call for cooking with lots of liquid in the crock or you will end up with mush.

Last edited by velcromom; 04-28-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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