Homemade Hamburger Helper

Growing up in our family, we were big fans of Hamburger Helper.  It was quick, easy, and delicious.  My mom could whip up a batch of this and serve it with some corn and green beans, and we’d have a complete meal.  Within the past couple of years, I’ve learned a little too much about preservatives and processed food…and have been doing whatever I can in order to limit the amount of consumption when it comes to processed foods in our family.  Plus, my husband isn’t a big fan of Hamburger Helper for some odd reason, so I started looking around.  Pampered Chef has this recipe put together for their new product, the RockCrok.  But don’t panic…if you don’t have a RockCrok, you can use a large skillet or pot instead.

homemade hamburger helper

There are a few adjustments to this recipe that I made, but only minor.  I loved the idea of using less preservatives in this delicious one-pot meal.  Serve this up with some steamed veggies and/or dinner rolls and salad?  Sign me up!  The first time I made this was at my parents’ house, and I was unable to get a picture of it before it was all gone.  No, I’m not kidding.  But, that just gave me an excuse to make some more, so it all worked out.  And another great thing about this dish is that it’s kid friendly!  🙂  It’s also great as leftovers, just add a little bit of water (for moisture) and pop in the microwave until hot.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe:

1 lb. ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 oz. can of beef broth

14 oz. can of diced tomatoes

3 cups wide egg noodles

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat olive oil in RockCrok or large skillet on medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook for a few minutes, until tender.  Add ground beef, and cook until browned and fully cooked.  Stir in beef broth, and you can either add the can of tomatoes as is, or puree them in a food processor or blender (I puree them).  Stir together, add noodles.  Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are soft.  Add salt, pepper, and cheeses, stir together well.  Remove from heat and cover, let sit until cheese is melted.

Cinnamon Sugar Loaves

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of devouring these delicious little guys at a Pampered Chef party.  This recipe is part of the Brownie Pan recipes, and since I’m a huge fan of anything cinnamon and sugar, naturally I ate as many of these that I could without getting into trouble for taking too many of them.  So when the brownie pan entered my kitchen, this was the first thing on my recipe list to try out.

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Without surprise, these are best when eaten right out of the oven when they’re nice and warm.  This is one of those desserts where it would be great with coffee or hot chocolate…and could also be a great breakfast treat as well.  My sister-in-law suggested drizzling a vanilla icing on top, and I absolutely agree.  In fact, the vanilla icing that is used on top of the pumpkin cookies would be absolutely perfect.  Although I made just a tiny modification to the recipe (used all cinnamon instead of the half cinnamon and half nutmeg, and used a combination of white sugar and brown sugar), these were absolutely delicious.  Another great recipe for this pan would be the pumpkin bars…I’ve already made them twice, and they were a huge hit!

Cinnamon Sugar Loaves Recipe:

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

For the cinnamon Sugar Topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a classic batter bowl with stainless steel whisk.  In a small batter bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and milk.  Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.  Use large cookie scoop to divide among brownie pan wells, bake for 15-20 minutes (until lightly browned on top and sides slightly pull away).  Remove from pan immediately.  Combine sugar and cinnamon, dip tops into butter, then dip into cinnamon sugar.

*Optional: Drizzle with vanilla icing.

Triple Layer Brownies

This is the first of many Pampered Chef recipes that are going to show up on this blog.  Why?  Because they have SOOO many recipes to experiment with, it’s not even funny.  So, here’s to the first of many!  If you’ve made these before, you may notice a slight variation in the recipe from the original…but overall, it’s still the same basic recipe.  Bottom layer is a chocolate chip cookie, middle layer is an Oreo cookie, and the top layer is a brownie.  What?!  Yes!  Hence the name, triple layer brownies.  😉

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A lot of the Pampered Chef recipes are very easy.  This is one of those recipes, and they are equally as delicious as they are to prepare.  Since I didn’t have the brownie pan yet (where this recipe came from), I had to slightly alter the recipe to make these in a regular muffin pan until I could get my hands on a brownie pan…so I’ll just tell you how to make them in a muffin pan for now.

Triple Layer Brownies Recipe:

(makes two pans)

1 package chocolate chip cookie dough (24 count pop and bake)

24 Oreo cookies

1 box of brownie mix and ingredients to make

1 cup milk (for dipping Oreos)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.  Mix package of brownie mix according to package directions.  Place 1 square of cookie dough in the bottom of each muffin well, press down evenly.  Top with 1 Oreo cookie (dipped in milk) and 1 Medium Scoop of brownie mix.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

*Dipping the Oreo cookie in milk is optional.  This makes the cookie soft, so if you prefer crunchy Oreo cookies, just omit this step!

Three Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese

Ahh, yes.  Macaroni and cheese.  One of the most beloved, yet common, side dishes that is used to bring to pot lucks, family gatherings, cookouts…you name it, and it’ll probably show up for most any occasion.  I do have a crock pot mac ‘n cheese recipe that everyone always polishes off at any gathering, but I came across a really good baked mac ‘n cheese recipe that desperately needed to be experimented with.  Normally, I just use the standard cheddar, but went with some different cheeses along with even some different pasta.

This time, I used white cheddar, Gruyere (which is a type of swiss) and parmesan.  Yumdiddles.  Grating the cheese was certainly a task, but the freshly grated cheese was absolutely beyond delicious.  The baking dish I used with this recipe was one that I ordered from Pampered Chef, and it’s the Deep Covered Baker.  And just in case you didn’t already know, it’s fabulous.

I couldn’t wait to try this out, and was very happy with the end result.  It was different and delicious, but my brother put it the best way…  He said, “It tastes like the kind of macaroni that you’d order in an  upscale restaurant.”  That description hit the nail right on the head!

Mac & Cheese Recipe:

1 lb. uncooked small shells pasta

1 stick butter

1/2 cup flour

5 cups 2 % milk

2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

10 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

7 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups Cheese and Garlic croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  Meanwhole, melt butter in pot and add flour, whisk until smooth.  Slowly add milk to flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.  Add mustard, salt and pepper.  Simmer 14-17 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add cheeses, one at a time, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth.  Remove sauce from heat.  Meanwhile, coarsely chop croutons in food chopper or processor.  Mix sauce and cooked pasta in bowl until combined, then pour into baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, 25-35 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and croutons are golden brown.  Remove dish from oven, let stand for 10 minutes before serving