I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Hamburger Helper".... Unboxed!

My husband LOVES Hamburger Helper. He asks for it all the time.

Nas-Tay! It totally grosses me out... and I don't want to serve that to my kids.

So, I made up my own version.

And it's easy.... and fast!

You could probably change up the seasonings to give it different flavors , but tonight we went with "Cheesy Taco".

Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

1 Lb. Ground Beef or Turkey
2 Tbsp (or one envelope) Taco Seasoning (you can make your own of this too, but I just use the kind with no MSG 'cause I'm lazy.)
1 Tbsp Onion Soup Mix
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp. 21 Seasoning Salute (Salt Free Seasoning From Trader Joe's... you can sub another salt free seasoning if you want, or just add a little extra pepper.)
1/2 tsp. pepper
Seasoning Salt to taste (I just used a little sprinkle, so I have no clue how much to tell you...)
1 1/2 cups Fat Free Half and Half, or Milk
4 oz Light Cream Cheese
1 cup Shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar-Jack) + 1/4 cup more for the top
1/4 Grated Parmesan Cheese
12 oz. Wide Egg Noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add you noodles.

Cook the meat in a large-ish skillet with all of the seasonings until the meat is browned and cooked through. Add the half and half/milk, cream cheese, Cheddar-Jack cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Let it cook until cheeses are all melted. When your noodles are done, drain them and add them to your meat/cheese sauce, and stir until all the noodles are coated. You can add an extra splash of milk if you think it needs to be creamier. Top with 1/4 cup of cheese, and cover, until the cheese is melted.

The End.... You're Welcome.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love Mac and Cheese?! Seriously, it's so good.

When I was pregnant with my son, I actually craved the Kraft boxed kind, with it's funky orange powder sauce mix...

When my hormones are somewhat normal, I go for the homemade kind.

This is a recipe I came up with right after my hubs and I got married. It's so simple, an yet it's probably the recipe people ask me for the most.

It's very versatile. You can use regular Cheddar-Jack mix, Pepper Jack for a little kick, or you can go all out and use cheese from the fancy cheese section... it's ALL good!

Sometimes, when I'm lazy (OK... that's pretty much all the time...) I just get one of those rotisserie chickens from Costco and add the meat to this, as well as some frozen veggies (I add them to the pasta while it's boiling) and then dinner is done, and I don't have to worry about preparing anything else.

Laziness or genius... you decide!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

16 oz macaroni (shells or elbow) cooked

1- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (You can sub and cheese you like here...)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2  8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

4 Tbsp butter melted

1/2 - 3/4 cup milk or fat free half and half (To make it easier to stir and keep the moisture in)

Dash of salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs or crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the butter and the cream cheese together in a microwave, and stir until pretty much combined.

In a large mixing bowl combine cooked macaroni, ricotta, garlic and onion powders, 2 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and butter mixture, milk., salt and pepper (you can add he chicken here too, if your going for a casserole type of dish). Pour into a 9x13 baking pan or casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until topping is browned and crispy. Serve with your favorite veggies and enjoy!