Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lose the glove. Share the love.

A staple of my childhood cooking experience was a cheeseburger casserole, the recipe for which came on a case of boxed macaroni and cheese we got from Sam’s Club. It was a delicious and high-in-fat-and-calories concoction of cooked hamburger, macaroni and cheese and cream of mushroom soup. It was Hamburger Helper without the glove. It was comfort and joy in a microwavable casserole dish.

I still love the flavor of that meal, but don’t want much of anything to do with the old versions. This makeshift "hamburger" helper is so named because it’s a from-scratch version of the original that uses ground turkey instead of beef. The flavors are very, very similar to what you’re used to, with far fewer calories or fat grams – knowing that it’s good for you makes it taste even better. Serve with a side of sauteed spinach and a couple of old episodes of Night Court to complete the throwback experience.

Makeshift “Hamburger” Helper
Servings: 6
WW Points: 4 per serving

8 oz. whole wheat macaroni noodles (uncooked)
1 lb. ground turkey
14 oz. fat-free beef broth
2 cups water
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. button mushrooms, diced
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 c.fat free sour cream
1/4 c. grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Brown turkey in a large skillet. When beef is cooked through, add veggies, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook it until the veggies start to soften and release their juices, stirring it often.

Stir in the water, 1 1/2 cups of the broth, uncooked macaroni noodles, and the Worcestershire sauce, bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and cook until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of broth in a small bowl until it’s smooth with no lumps. Stir this into the turkey mixture. Add the sour cream. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened. Right before serving, add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. The sauce will thicken some as it sits.

By the way, this freezes really well. So make lots and do that, m'kay?

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