Saturday, May 19, 2012

Grown-Up Hamburger Helper

Like a lot of my recipes, the hubby has given this dish the nickname of "Grown Up Hamburger Helper". At one time, it used to be called Beef and Cheese Noodle Bake. Most of my recipes get a nickname by the hubby. The Lemon Curd Fruit Tarts became "Tar-Tar's". This, of course, brings an image of raw steak to my mind, but I digress.

I did not manage my time well last night. I was hoping to make this dish in 30 minutes, have it in the oven at 6:30, and therefore ready by 7 when the hubby got home. Somehow, it didn't come together like that. The hubby texted me at 6:45 and I was in a full-on fury of activity. Finishing the meat mixture, making a cheese slurry, toasting garlic for the broccoli. I managed to finish at 7:15 by some miracle.

I like to sneak some veggies into my version of hamburger helper. Fresh grated carrot and diced onion.

Fresh grated cheese please!

Here's what you'll need to make the sauce. Pretty basic as far as slurries go, with a dash of salt for seasoning.

After sautéing the onions and carrots, add in the ground beef and some minced garlic.

Brown the beef, add in tomato sauce to the mixture. I was fresh out of tomato sauce last night, so I created my own by adding a couple of tbsp's of water to some tomato paste. Worked like a charm.

Add in hot cooked pasta to the beef mixture. I was in crazy-mode by this point, so my cheese sauce slurry went fast! 

Stir the cheese sauce into the beef mixture. Transfer beef to a casserole pan coated with cooking spray. Top mixture with a layer of cheese, and bake in the oven until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

A side of broccoli is my favorite with this. I like to steam it for a couple of minutes over top of the pasta while it's cooking. I then toast some garlic slices and crushed red pepper in a bit of olive oil before tossing the broccoli in the pan and coating it with the spicy garlic oil. Finish with a sprinkle of salt.

Comfort food for grown-ups :)

6 oz elbow macaroni, cooked to package directions
1 head of broccoli, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrot, shredded
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. While pasta is cooking, place a steamer basket with broccoli over the pasta. Steam broccoli for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside. Remove pasta from heat when done, drain, and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, cook 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Add carrots to pan, cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and beef to pan, stirring to crumble. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until beef is cooked through. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to pan, cook 2 minutes or until moisture has evaporated. Add pasta to the pan, toss to mix well.
4. In a smaller pan, combine milk and flour over medium-high heat. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, 2-4 minutes. Add cheese and salt to the pan, stir until cheese has melted.
5. Pour cheese sauce over pasta mixture, toss to combine. Transfer mixture into a casserole pan coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake in pre-heated oven 25 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
6. While pasta is baking, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and crushed red pepper to pan, cook for about 1 minute. Add broccoli to pan, toss to coat. Season to taste with salt. Serve with baked pasta.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

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