Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weeknight Lasagna Toss -- Homemade Hamburger Helper

I like to call this recipe homemade Hamburger Helper, because that is what it is! Without all the extra yummy preservatives! This is the first time i made a full batch of this recipe, a few years ago i tried it several times scaled down to 1/4, it turned out good, but now i see not quite the same.

The recipe comes from a Kraft What's Cooking of my favorites! I have back issues for the last 8 years! It states that it is a quick alternative to lasagna on a busy night...but i think it took longer to make than my lasagna recipe, which i also got out of a Kraft magazine. This is a picture of the review and the dish directly from the pages of Kraft. Looks delicious!

So, to make this lovely, cheesy, pasta masterpiece, you will need the following: (makes four 2 cup servings)

3/4 LB lean ground beef
2 cups chopped green peppers (about 1 +1/2 medium peppers)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jar (700 mL) pasta sauce
1 + 2/3 cups water
1/2 cup 'Zesty Italian' dressing (recipe recommends Kraft)
12 oven ready lasagna noodles, broken into quarters
1 cup shredded cheese (recipe recommends Kraft 4 cheese Italinao)

Brown Meat in large saucepan or deep cast iron skillet on medium heat, drain.

Add peppers, garlic, pasta sauce, water and dressing; bring to a boil. Stir in noodles, reduce heat to medium-low, cover.

Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until noodles are tender. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese. Cover, let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This is the mess after adding the noodles. I accidentally missed the line 'bring to a boil' before adding the noodles, but it turned out alright, just a bit hard to stir at first. The sheen on the top is from the Italian dressing. It was a new bottle and i got a lot of oil. Also, breaking lasagna noodles into quarters is not as easy as it may seem...i got more shards than quarters, but that is OK.

Now for the changes i made: I only added 1/2 a green pepper, it looked like lots, i didn't think it needed more. I used dried garlic, as i am not crazy about chopping garlic, i did not have any and the Market was closed. Next time, i will only use 8 or 10 noodles, unless i have company and am actually serving it all, 12 seemed like to much.

I also added the cheese in the bowl and covered it with a pie plate for a few minutes. This is because i was only taking 1 serving and freezing the rest for lunches, and i think it might be better to add the cheese as it is eaten. I am not sure if it freezes well, neither the magazine nor the website state if it is, but we shall see!

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