I need to come clean about something. A dirty little secret. Please don’t judge me…..I, Amy-the-food-blogger, like Hamburger Helper. (GASP!) Yep, it’s true. We both do, actually- of course, I would expect hubby to- I think HH was pretty regular in his house growing up. My mom hates it though, and never bought it when we were kids. Maybe once in a blue moon if I begged for it (which, I don’t really think I ever did)- so I didn’t really develop a fondness for it until college, where my roommate Courtney and I ate it quite often. Every now and then I’ll buy a box and make it for dinner – you gotta admit it IS pretty quick and easy when you’re in a pinch! However, recently, a fellow food blogger (and all-around awesome gal!) Ashley, of Delish posted her recipe for Creamy Taco Mac- pretty much exactly like Hamburger Helper, except much better for you (and just as quick and easy!)! I made it immediately and we both loved it! Hubby especially thought it was great (woo hoo!). I’ll never need to buy the boxed stuff again! Thanks, Ashley!
Creamy Taco Mac
- adapted from Delish
1 lb. lean, ground beef
8 oz dry pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp mild taco seasoning (one packet)
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt & pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.
Over medium heat, brown ground beef and drain off fat. Add taco seasoning and diced tomatoes. Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese and sour cream. Give it a good stir until cheese is melted and incorporated. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, as desired. Top off with cheddar cheese for extra cheesy goodness.
Ok, say you want really delicious, hearty lasagna for dinner but you don’t have hours and hours to spend on it – this one’s for you! This is my Nana’s recipe for lasagna and it’s been a family favorite throughout the years. It’s just perfect for busy moms and hard-working people who don’t have the luxury of spending lots and lots of time in the kitchen for dinner. Since you don’t have to cook the noodles beforehand, you can whip it up in practically no time and put a really delicious meal on the table for your kids or your hard-working man (I know my hard-working man really appreciates this- he loves a good lasagna!)! This was perfect for us because I was able to make it for dinner one night, then hubby could have the leftovers for his dinner on the nights I was gone for opera rehearsals (it makes a big ‘ol pan full!). If you don’t like the thought of using store-bought tomato sauce, by all means, use homemade. This is a perfect meal because it’s really comforting, simple and hearty- a real comfort meal in half the time! Give it a try!
1 lb. lean ground beef
32 oz. spaghetti sauce (I used one 16-oz. jar Prego Traditional and one 16-oz. jar Prego Basil and Garlic)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups (16 oz.) ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (plus more for the top)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-oz. pkg. lasagna noodles- uncooked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat and drain off fat. Add spaghetti sauce and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside. Combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic and set aside. In a greased 9×13 pan, pour approx. 1/2 cup meat sauce; cover with a layer of lasagna noodles. Cover with approx. 1 1/2 cups meat sauce; spread half of cheese mixture over the sauce (don’t worry if the layers mix a tiny bit). Repeat layers. Top with the remaining meat sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 55-60 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese; bake for an addition 5-10 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Ok, I know this picture is slightly less-than-appetizing (I discovered that no matter what color of plate I tried, this dish just wasn’t very photogenic), but trust me, this sauce is seriously good. And quick. And easy. Got store-bought marinara? Cream cheese? Ground beef??? Then you’ve got creamy bolognese! There’s an “Italian” restaurant in our hometown that my family would eat at practically every Sunday after church. Without fail, I would always order their pasta bolognese (actually not bolognese at all, but it was still really good!); basically, it was a really creamy, slightly spicy meat/mushroom sauce. The other night, while throwing this dish together, I happen to end up with a sauce almost identical to their “bolognese” completely by accident- yay! Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is real bolognese. And it’s good. Really good.
Creamy [Cheater] Bolognese
1 pound lean ground beef
1 jar of your favorite store-bought marinara sauce (I actually used the canned kind)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
freshly ground pepper to taste (I like lots!)
pinch Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
In a large skillet, brown and drain the beef. Stir in the marinara sauce, mushrooms, black pepper, cayenne pepper and sugar; mix well. Add the cream cheese and stir constantly until it melts into the sauce. Taste for seasoning. Toss with the cooked pasta and serve immediately.
I’ve found my purpose. No really; now I see why the Good Lord put me on this earth…to make this chili. For everyone. I can’t believe I’ve only ever made chili with ground beef and a spice packet…that’s no way to live. Now that I’ve tasted real chili, there’s no way I’m going back. Ever.
You’ve heard me talk about my Uncle Steve many times – well here’s another tribute to his culinary genius. He gave me his chili recipe…no, let me rephrase that- he gave me the chili recipe; because as far as I’m concerned, this is the only one I’ll ever need. Of course I won’t post it exactly how he gave it to me (I can’t just go ’round giving away a man’s chili recipe, now can I?) – I made a few changes, since I didn’t have 8 hours to spend on it. But lemme tell ya – it’s thick, it’s meaty, it’s spicy, it’s bold, it’s…..beautiful. Hubby and I were in hog heaven after one bite. I can safely say, this chili is henceforth…THE chili.
2 lb. Chuck roast (or any cut you have on hand), cut into small cubes
1 lb. Flank steak, cut into cubes
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 chipotle chilis in Adobo (you can find these in the Latin section of your grocery store), seeded
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 quart beef broth
1 bottle beer (I used Sam Adams)
salt to taste
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes (Uncle Steve doesn’t believe in tomato in his chili, but I like it!)
Place beef in a large dutch oven with the beef broth (if the broth doesn’t cover the beef, add some water), cover and boil for 30-45 minutes or until the beef is tender. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the onion, garlic and chipotle peppers. Add to beef along with spices and salt. If there is too much liquid, simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced down a bit. Alternatively you can add a little flour or masa to thicken. Add beer and tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours stirring occasionally.
Believe it or not, I’m not a huge fan of meatballs in my spaghetti. Something about them bothers me, but I can’t really explain what it is. After a few weeks of wanting to try Ina Garten’s marinara recipe, I decided to make some for dinner. Then I thought I might as well throw some meatballs in the mix too, just to see if I could come up with a recipe I liked. Of course (no surprise whatsoever) Ina’s marinara was totally delicious – I love that she uses red wine! It’s a little tangy and really hearty and thick. I decided to just wing it on the meatballs – I mixed ground beef with fresh bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, an egg and salt and pepper. Very simple and straight forward. And since I hate standing over a skillet turning splattering meatballs every 2 minutes, I just threw them in the oven for about 25 minutes and they came out perfectly!
Hubby and I really enjoyed our spaghetti and meatballs! Since the sauce is so robust and full of flavor, I didn’t spice the meatballs up too much – I just let the sauce take care of it. I’ll most definitely be using this marinara recipe again and again…it’ll most likely be my stand-by marinara in the future! This was a really (really!) yummy dinner – I’m glad I finally found a meatball that I’d actually want to put in my spaghetti!
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (3 slices white bread ground up in the food processor)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. Roll meat into 1 1/2-2 inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and cooked throughout.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.
*I also added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to add a little sweetness
Here’s a cute story:
Once upon a time, when my parents were newly married (and I mean “newly” – they probably hadn’t even been married a week yet!) and just home from their honeymoon, my mother wanted to cook my daddy one of his favorite meals for their first married dinner at home- stuffed peppers. She worked hard in the kitchen and came out with a big platter of beautiful looking stuffed peppers. As they sat down and started to eat, they both noticed something wasn’t quite right – the peppers were crunchy! It was then my mother realized she’d neglected to cook the rice before adding it to the filling! She was so embarrassed, but my daddy kept on eating and said he thought they were great anyway – what a great husband!
Here’s another story:
Once upon a time, when Joel and I had just been married and had just gotten home from our honeymoon, I wanted to cook a nice meal for our first married dinner at home. I picked out a nice noodle casserole recipe and went to work. As my new husband and I sat down and started eating…lo and behold, the casserole went, crunch! crunch! and immediately I knew I had flubbed up somehow. Just as my mother had done years before when she was a young bride, I had neglected to boil my noodles before putting them in the casserole. Just like my sweet daddy had done, my hubby kept right on eating and said it was delicious and that he liked it crunchy, while I sat there blushing. Like mother, like daughter, I guess! Lucky for our husbands, we’ve both grown quite a lot since our first married days!
Believe it or not, when I was a kid, I hated these things. I hated peppers, I hated onions…I hated most things, it seems like. I didn’t even try these until I was almost married – my mother coooked them and I finally decided I’d give them a try. I ended up really liking them and getting the recipe from her. Finally, last night, I decided to make them myself – I did them exactly how my mother does them and WOW, these are SO much better than I remember!! They’re hearty and filling and have tons of great flavor! We both ate like pigs and cleaned our plates! Luckily, there’s one left and I get it for dinner tonight since hubby is going to a boys’ night! Yee haw!!
My Mom’s No-Bake Stuffed Peppers
2 medium bell peppers (any color – I used yellow)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon basil
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups rice, cooked
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop the peppers in and boil for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce, basil and sugar and set aside. Brown meat and onion in a large skillet; drain. Stir in 1/2 the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of the rice and the salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes; stir in cheese. Spoon meat mixture into peppers and place into skillet. Pour remaining tomato sauce around peppers; cover and simmer. Top with additional cheese, if desired. Serve on top of remaining rice.
These really are SO good – do yourself a favor and try them out soon! I promise you’ll love them! Just don’t forget to cook the rice first! Enjoy!!
These are the steaks I mentioned a couple of days ago (one blog post below) that I made for my hubby last week. I have to say, I was a wee bit (ok more than a wee bit) proud of myself for finally (and successfully!) cooking steaks! I know – what kind of cook doesn’t know how to make a good steak, right? For some reason I had always thought steaks would be too finicky for me to handle – I just knew I’d overcook them or set my kitchen on fire or something else awful. BUT – these were surprisingly super duper easy! Once again, Ina Garten comes to my rescue and makes things that once looked challenging totally approachable for me. Love her! Her recipe is for Filet Minon, but I had some great looking Ribeyes that I wanted to use instead – they worked just fine!
I decided to top the steaks with a mushroom cream sauce – I love mushrooms on my steak, so I thought this sauce would be really good on top – sure enough, it was deeeeelicious! Hubby absolutely loved the whole meal and I was quite surprised at how delicious it turned out (especially since it was so easy!!). Toot, toot tooooot! (That’s me tooting my own horn, if you can’t tell…).
2 (10-ounce) filet mignon (or in my case, Ribeye steaks)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil on each side and season with salt and pepper.
When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on both sides for about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you’re actually testing the middle of the steak.)
Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with mushroom cream sauce (recipe below) and serve. Enjoy!
Mushroom Cream sauce
-Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
2 pounds baby Portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (you could also use half and half)
1 tablespoon dry red wine
Brush the caps of each mushroom with a clean sponge. Remove and discard the stems. Slice the small mushrooms thickly and cut the large ones in a large dice.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the butter, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, until they are tender and begin to release their juices, stirring often. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, red wine and cream and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve warm over steaks.
This turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve made in a long time – hubby kept going on and on about how good it all tasted. I always feel so good when I put a good dinner on the table for my hard-working hubby – especially when he really loves it! I know this recipe will be in my recipe box from now on…it’s definitely a keeper!
OH! – and, be on the lookout….something new and exciting is in the works here at Sing For Your Supper!! I can’t wait!……………
It’s pretty darn hot outside today (I think 102 is the high…) and normally on days like this, I’d be posting something cold and refreshing…like lemonade or ice cream. But I’m not. I’m posting Nana’s meatloaf. Why? Because it’s been one heck of a week and I needed something comforting. It doesn’t get much more comforting than Nana’s meatloaf. For years that was the only meatloaf I would eat as a kid. So, naturally, that’s the only recipe I use when I make meatloaf now. Only thing is, it definitely tastes better eaten at Nana’s table…
And today’s your lucky day, because I’m going to share her recipe with you. You don’t have to make it in this intense heat (I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty hard for me to turn my oven on when it’s the hot summertime)….you can save it for cooler weather or for when you have a week like mine and need something comforting to make you feel better. Either way, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
1 pound lean, ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 15-oz. can diced, stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
(I like to add lots of pepper to mine, but she doesn’t call for it)
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 package Saltine Crackers, crushed (probably about 10 crackers or so)
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste
(I also like to add a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce)
Mix everything in a large bowl. Form into two loaves and place on a broiler pan (so all the fat can drip down into the bottom of the pan), cover loosely with foil and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until brown, taking the foil off halfway through the cooking process (at this point, I like to mix a few tablespoon of ketchup with some brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and spread on the top of each loaf – this is optional!). Serve and enjoy!
Ok, these are really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pictures BUT I just had to post this recipe because it’s just that good. I’ve had it saved for several months now, but for some reason just now got around to making it. Let me just say that I have now made these twice within a week. They’re that good. Freaking awesome, in fact. The recipe is Josh’s Famous Burritos – a recipe found in the New York Times a while back. Go to the store tomorrow and buy some steak – you need to make these. As soon as possible.
You’ll notice that these don’t really look like burritos – more like fajitas, in fact. This recipe needs the giant sized tortillas, but all I had on hand was the regular sized, so it didn’t quite fold like it should’ve…oh well- it still tasted the same. It’s really important to cook the meat at least an hour so it can get nice and tender and the liquid can cook down. The first time I made these (that’s when the pictures were taken too) was definitely the best batch – I made them again tonight (for my parents, in fact) and they weren’t quite as good as the first time – still freaking awesome, though. This famous Josh knows what he’s doing, I’ll say that. I made just a few changes to the original recipe – it’s one of those recipes that can be easily adjusted to your tastes; you can add or take away anything you want. I added a little of my favorite liquid steak seasoning to add a little extra flavor. I cut the recipe in half and had just enough for 4 people.
Josh’s Famous Burritos
2 pounds skirt steak
2 pounds hanger steak (if hanger is not available, substitute additional skirt steak)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, or as needed
3 tablespoons mild taco sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 yellow peppers, diced (I omitted)
4 medium jalapeños, with seeds, diced
6 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped, 1 tablespoon sauce reserved
1 package Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit (I just used chili powder and cumin)
1 1/2 bottles Dos Equis Amber beer
1/2 cup prepared salsa, more for serving
flour tortillas, for serving
1 cup (lightly packed) chopped cilantro leaves, for serving
2 cups four-cheese shredded Mexican blend, for serving
2 cans refried beans, heated, for serving
1 box Spanish rice pilaf, prepared according to instructions on box, but made with 2 tablespoons salsa along with spice packet, for serving.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat both sides of steaks with garlic powder and taco sauce. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes. Turn steaks, sprinkle again with garlic powder, and roast for another 10 minutes. Cut meat into 1-inch slices and set aside.
Place oil in a very large skillet (14 inches or larger) over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and jalapeños. Sauté for 1 minute, and add chipotle chilies and sliced steak. Add all packets from Wick Fowler kit except masa and onion-and-garlic packets. Stir to coat well. Add beer, 1/2 cup water, reserved adobo sauce and 1/2 cup salsa.
Cook uncovered at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce has thickened and coats meat, about 1 hour. Serve buffet style, allowing guests to assemble burritos in tortillas, filling them as desired with meat, cilantro, shredded cheese, salsa, refried beans and rice. For a classic burrito, fill tortillas, roll, then fold ends underneath.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Again, please forgive the terrible pictures – I just couldn’t keep this recipe from you, though! Do yourself a favor and make these burritos this week!
As you all know, yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day (did you wear your green???). This holiday doesn’t really mean much to me (although it probably should, since I have a good chunk of Irish in me) and I don’t normally do anything to celebrate it except for pinching my hubby for not wearing green…hehe. In fact, I didn’t even have a single “Irish festivity” or dish planned for the occasion…until I saw this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie on one of my absolute favorite food blogs, For the Love of Cooking (apparently a lot of people like to make this dish on St. Patrick’s Day). Honestly, I’ve never really been “attracted” to shepherd’s pie…it never really looked appetizing to me – until yesterday. This recipe and the great-looking pictures really made me think twice about whether or not I wanted to try it. Amazingly enough, I happened to have all the ingredients I needed for it and I thought, “oh.. what the heck!” and set out to make my first shepherd’s pie.
The verdict: it was really easy and absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! Hubby and I both loved it. I think the milk, cheese, butter and sour cream in the mashed potato topping was what really made it extra special. This is one of our new favorites!
-For the Love of Cooking
Mashed Potato Topping:
5-6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup of milk
3 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp Irish garlic and herb butter (or regular butter)
1/2 cup Irish extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Boil a large pot of water. Peel the potatoes and cut into thirds. Boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place back into the pan. Add the milk, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper then mash with a masher or blend with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Cover with a lid and set aside.
Meat Filling and Sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced (I didn’t have onion so I just used onion powder)
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I doubled this)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp Irish garlic and herb butter (or regular butter)
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup beef broth (I only had chicken broth, but it worked really well!)
While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery then cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the lean ground beef and cook thoroughly. Add the salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
Once the beef is done cooking, mix the peas into the mixture until well combined. Pour the beef filling into a large baking dish and set aside. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix thoroughly then slowly add the beef broth. Season with sea salt and pepper (I also added a few shakes of Worcestershire). Pour the sauce over the beef mixture and mix thoroughly. Top the beef and vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy.