With regards to the kitchen on
One of the things I've done is to prepare certain recipe items in batches to be used later. This is one of those recipes...something I call "Hamburger Helper" even though I don't use hamburger and the ingredients largely come from a jar out of my cupboard, not a box off a store shelf. The results are far better. I doubt it is cheaper, but it is definitely frugal in more ways than one.
Hamburger Helper Chili
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (can easily substitute another teaspoon of paprika)
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Powdered Milk
- 1 Pound Ground Meat*
- 3 Cups Hot Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Elbow Macaroni*
- 1 14oz Can Diced Tomatoes*
- 1 14oz Can Corn*, drained
- 1 14ox Can Kidney Beans*, drained
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese*
*There is some flexibility with these ingredients.....
I start by browning about a pound of meat in a medium sized pot. I wrote "about" because I tend to use ground turkey which tends to come in 20 oz packages. I personally prefer 80-85% lean and I don't drain the fat off because there is too much flavor in what little fat there is.....and I'm lazy.
|Ingredients added to cooked meat|
When the meat is cooked I dump in all the other ingredients save the cheese. I usually end up using about 2 cups of macaroni and I prefer to use some diced tomatoes that have chilies and some chili seasoning in them. If you do that regularly you may wish to substitute a teaspoon of paprika in your pre-prepped mix in place of the chili seasoning. While I like kidney beans, we have used other beans and we really like garbanzo beans....which I found surprising.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is cooked (7-10 minutes). Add the cheese, remove the pot from the heat, and give it a good stir. Let the pot sit for five minutes to thicken and give it another good stir.
I like to add a generous helping of hot sauce, or even better, Sriracha Sauce.
|Six future meals all measured up|
For me the time saver comes from having a bunch of little half-pint jars sitting on the shelf. I only have to get out all my spices and powdered milk once for a series of meals. With all the fiddly parts done all I have left to measure out is pasta, water, and cheese. I'm careful on the water measurements, but I'll just use the measuring cup as a scoop to get the macaroni and I don't measure the cheese. I just cut off a couple inches off of a 2# block and chop it up. If I'm a little heavy or a little light on the cheese it still comes out just fine.
Heck, lately I don't even bother to keep track of the cooking time. When the macaroni looks done I add the cheese and remove it from the burner. The recipe is pretty forgiving.....