If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck; it’s not necessarily a duck. How many of you remember the popular “Hamburger Helper” first introduced to the American Consumer in the early 1970s? The timing of this “convenient” form of cooking wasn’t by chance. It was a result of a corporation seizing the moment. On the heals of the Civil Rights Movement; the Woman’s Movement began to build momentum as women left the kitchen and joined the work force seeking more than jobs, they wanted careers and to be viewed as equals.
We were told that’s all fine and dandy, so long as the little woman of the house understood a few of the ground rules – the pay would be less and the domestic responsibilities would remain with her. However; companies – especially in the food industry – were eager to lend a helping hand, with the convenience of boxed dinners – add a few fresh ingredients and the career-minded woman could still whip up a home-cooked meal at the end of the day.
Convenient? You bet. When I went back to school and my children were young, Hamburger Helper was a staple in the kitchen. Add a side of veggies, and a home-cooked meal donned the table in about 25 minutes. Truth be told, we haven’t eaten Hamburger Helper in years. I hadn’t even noticed that “Hamburger” isn’t even a part of the name these days – it’s simply knowns as “Helper” – without being meat-specific.
As our lives have become hectic once again, Hubby has suggested a return to that popular “Helper” meal. Thanks, but no thanks. There had to be another way. A few quick searches on the internet, and sure enough there are recipes out there based on the popular Hamburger Helper concept without the stuff in the box packed with preservatives and artificial flavorings. These recipes can use ground chicken, turkey or beef. Add the same fresh ingredients such as milk, and the end result is – Hamburger Helper – only better.
Stroganoff Helper without the Box
Ingredients – Fresh
1 lb Lean Ground Meat (Beef, Chicken or Turkey)
1 Cup HOT water
1 ½ Cups Milk
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Small Egg Noodles
1 Cup Mushrooms, sliced
Ingredients – Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot
1 ½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
2 ½ Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 ½ Teaspoon Dried Chives
¼ Teaspoon Parsley Flakes
In a large skillet, brown the ground meat. Drain well.
Add water, milk, sour cream and pasta. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package and mushrooms.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.
Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.