Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Healthier Helper

Apparently spring is on it's way in some parts of the country, but it's definitely winter where I live. I'm still making meals that are on the hearty side, which makes sense since there is a ton of snow on the ground. I made a mexican lasagna over the weekend that went over well, using whole wheat tortillas instead of pasta, salsa instead of tomato sauce, and cheddar in place of mozzarella.
I'll admit it, Hamburger Helper has been a part of my culinary life, it's cheap, it's easy, it fills you up. But its sooooo bad for you, with a cringe inducing amount of sodium and fat. I once saw an dish called "cowboy pasta," and since I usually tweak things to my liking, I made it over and now call it Healthy Helper. It's full of protein, due to the beans, and either ground beef or turkey, and the whole wheat pasta gives a dose of healthy carbs. I've thought of adding tofu hamburger crumbles, instead of meat, which might work too if you're a vegetarian.

The recipe makes a huge amount, so use a large skillet. I save some for lunch the next day, and freeze the rest.

Healthy Helper
one pound ground beef, turkey or tofu crumbles
one large vidalia onion, chopped
three cloves of garlic, chopped
one 30 oz can of low sodium tomato sauce
one 15 oz can of black beans
one 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
one can of corn
1 1/2 cup of uncooked whole wheat pasta
8 oz of pepper jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
olive oil
Cook, then drain the meat, and set aside.
In a large skillet, add enough olive oil to cover, and sautee the onions and garlic until soft.
Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans, corn, salt, cayenne, ground pepper, pasta and meat.
Bring to a boil, turn heat down to simmer, and cook until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir occasionally, at the end of cooking, mix in cheese, add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
don't forget the Le Creuset giveaway!


ajh said...

I am going to try this plus I just sent it to my son. Thanks.

Mother Rimmy said...

I love this. Definitely a husband and kid pleasing meal. Great job of making a healthy hamburger helper! Just goes to show you can eat healthy and eat well. :)

Julie said...

Hi Molly,
Thanks for another great recipe!!! It really looks very good:)

Theta Mom said...

Looks awesome - and so glad you are with us at TMC!!!

Scott K said...

I love it! My family is used to my focus on healthy meals. I wonder what kind of reaction I'll get if I tell them we're having hamburger helper for dinner! ;-)

Pining for Pinterest said...

Looks yummy! When my husband and I were first married and completely broke, we ate Hamburger Helper all of the time! You are right, it is so bad for you!

Tara said...

Yumm. I never make Hamburger Helper, if it comes out of a box, I usually don't buy it. However, my daughter loves hamburger helper and this looks like a fantastic dish girl!

I'm always looking for new dishes to use w/ my "fake meat". :)

It feels like spring here in Denver; it's going to be almost 60 degrees!

J said...

yum yum!! I have my own version of a healthy helper but its not as good as your sounds!! Mine is just ground beef and cheese and elbow pasta - more like goulash in a pan!

Liz Mays said...

I like your variation very much!!! I love the convenience of boxed dinners but most of the time, the nutrition leaves something to be desired!

Tri To Do It All said...

This sounds great. I am going to try and talk my wife into making it. I am not allowed in the kitchen.

Deb in Hawaii said...

This looks delicious--and so much healthier than HH! ;-)

Unknown said...

i'm going to try this very soom. just reading about made me hungry!