This was in the latest issue of Eating Well magazine and was described as a homemade version of a Hamburger Helper. I loved the idea. While we don't eat "The Helper" ourselves, once upon a time we did. We would try the latest flavors, cook them up and be disappointed, because it really just tasted like the box next to it, and you just knew they weren't that nutritious. After looking over EW's recipe for Hamburger Buddy, I decided it was well worth the try. And here's why- it's recipes like this that we need more of. In a world of convenience cooking and drive thru's, we need homemade food-for-you food that is similar to something out of a box. I think if someone who was used to the helper in a box tried this recipe, they'd be amazed with the flavor it packs!
Because it does. It packs flavor. In our case, a little too much, simply because I used the 3 cloves of garlic called for, and I had massive cloves of garlic. I should have used just 2, but threw them all in anyways. What was interesting about this recipe is the vegetables. The carrots and mushrooms are put in a food processor and pulverized before adding to the browned ground beef. Going into the pot, the ground mushrooms and carrots actually looked like more ground beef going in-other than the tiny flecks of orange from the carrot, you'd never know they were in there. Simmered in the pot with noodles, seasonings, and broth, this is a one-pot meal. It was similar in flavor to a stroganoff- but here's the best part. My mushroom hating daughter ate it. Which confirmed to me that it isn't the flavor of mushrooms that she's adverse to. Zander didn't eat much of it, but it was new to him, and he is still in a stage of deconstruction. He picked out most of the noodles and tried to wipe them off with his fork before eating them. Overall though, it's a keeper, and I'll be spending some time playing around with it as well, adding other herbs and other veggies as well.
So without further ado, here is Eating Well's version of Hamburger Buddy.
3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups water
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (2 cups)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish
1. Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.
2. Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.