Thursday, January 26, 2006

For the boy

Cheeseburger Macaroni
Passport to Flavor Copyright 1993

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 can (14 ½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 ½ cups shredded Longhorn or sharp Cheddar cheese I used Longhorn

In a large skillet, brown meat and onion over medium-high heat; drain. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add 1 cup water and tomatoes; bring to boil. Stir in macaroni. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Stir in cheese. (This really needs to sit for a few minutes at this point - it will look watery but turn creamy.) Garnish with sour cream, if desired.

5 to 6 servings.

I'm trying to make more Nicholas-friendly recipes and that's why I chose this recipe. It was a little too 'simple' for me - very good as it was but I'm sure it could easily be jazzed up any number of ways - but Nicholas really enjoyed it.

I will admit that in my younger years, I really enjoyed Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni but it's not something I want my son to get used to (and frankly none of the convenience foods I grew up on taste as good anymore and I don't think it's just my evolving taste buds - I think formulas have been tweaked over the years, removing almost all traces of 'real' food and replacing it with sodium and corn syrup.) This wasn't exactly a clone but it was basically the same thing, with tomatoes. And it was just as easy to prepare as Hamburger Helper from a box, just a small amount of chopping and shredding which can even be avoided now that you can buy pre-chopped onion and pre-shredded cheese.

This cookbook is from Del Monte, one of those you might find at the supermarket checkout counter or one that might be offered (in groups of threes) in the Sunday coupon supplement. I bought it all Ollie's for 99 cents and it's always been one of my favorites. It's hard to explain why or what that means since I've only cooked from it a few times but I would definitely call it a favorite. It's small and spiral bound with lots of pictures. This recipe is probably the most basic one in the entire cookbook - there are plenty of 'company-worthy' recipes in this book. Don't be scared by the Del Monte connection - these are all recipes using their canned tomato products and even a purist will admit that canned tomatoes are an acceptable product.

This book emphasizes international dishes - Mexican, French, Asian, Greek and others. I don't think it's in print anymore and that's a shame. If you see it at a yard sale - grab it!


Heather said...

this looks like the kind of thing that I would make. I used to be a Hamburger Helper fanatic until I realized that I can make most of the dishes from scratch and they would taste better!!

Randi said...

Robin would love this( with ground turkey of course since we dont eat red meat). I was in MI yesterday shopping at Meijer( huge grocery store) and HH was on sale for 1 dollar. People were just piling it in their carts. I suppose a lot of people think its a great deal and its fast to make. I think they're vile. Robin told me she used to eat HH at least 2x a week before she met me. Its no wonder she's lost about 30lbs since we've met. I really enjoy your blog. I have so many cookbooks that I just forget about after awhile.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I think this would probably be even better with ground turkey. Lean ground beef is not always very flavorful.

Anonymous said...

Made this last night and it was hit at our house as well! Cameron (3 1/2 year old) wasn't willing to even try it at first but I have a steady fast rule, two bites and if you still don't like it, you don't have to eat it. Well, two bites later and he was into it and asked for more. DH and I liked it as well but we would have spiced it up a little if Cameron wasn't eating with us. I liked the fact it was quick, easy and much better than from a box. Thanks for another great recipe Paula!