Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hamburger Helper and Children

I saw a version of this recipe in the The Healthy Alternative newsletter that Everman's co-op in Pensacola, Florida publishes. Reading it brought to mind all the years that I fed my boys Hamburger Helper as they were growing up, not every week but frequently enough -  I hate to admit. I made the following recipe the other day and it's not a low calorie dish but it might take the place of a quick noodle/tomato dish that would appeal to children. I am a firm believer that the chemicals found in products like Hamburger Helper as a preservative and flavor enhancer are contributing to the pounds and illnesses that the USA population is experiencing in every increasing numbers as our bodies struggle to process what is being ingested "NOT as per manufacturer's instructions"! It breaks my heart to see children over-weight, puffy looking from retaining too much fluid, and I wonder if they were fed healthier foods and exercised more would they not be in that situation. I know it takes A LOT of forethought and effort for a parent in this fast-paced society we live in to do all that is necessary to feed their children healthy foods, but what do you have that is more precious than your children?

So here is the recipe:

1 Box Spiral or Elbow Noodles
1/2 - 1 yellow onion - to taste
2-4 garlic cloves - to taste
Fresh chopped basil - 1/4-1/2 cup - or more if you like. I love basil!
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 -1 lb hamburger or ground turkey, or a mix of both
1 - 6 ounce can of tomato paste - low sodium
1 - 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce - low sodium
1 - 14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes - low sodium
Shredded white cheese - Monterey Jack/Mozzarella

Cook the noodles, set aside.
Put olive oil, about 3 tablespoons, in skillet and saute onion, garlic and fresh basil. You can cook the meat with this mixture if you like just make sure you drain well. I cook the meat separately then add to vegetable mixture when I add the tomato products. I would cover this mixture and simmer about 15 minutes before I added the noodles. You can add some water if you need to. Add the noodles to the mixture. Add grated cheese to top while hot on individual servings.

When I made this, I could see how you might spice it up, or add more ingredients - mushrooms, leeks, Italian Sausage. It's just a basic recipe but it was quick and I think it might appeal to children in how basic it is.

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