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Old 11-15-2005, 09:27 AM   #1
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Question Make your own "Hamburger Helper" type meal

With my and my wifes work schedule and taking care of our baby our time has become so limited that it is getting harder and harder to find time to make dinner. Lately I have been buying things at the supermarket that make life easier on me. There are a number of different supper "kits" on the market where you just need to add chicken or add this or add that. All the prep work is basically done for you already. None of these things taste amazing, but all the ones we have tried have filled our bellies and have tasted good enough that we don't mind having them every once in a while.

Last night I made one of the hamburger helpers meals. The pack comes with a seasoning packet and a packet of pasta. The only thing you need to supply is the ground meat (I used ground turkey). First you brown the meat, then you add a few cups of hot water and then the seasoning packet and pasta. You then cover and simmer until the pasta is done.

Well while I was eating this I though that this would be something so easy to make on my own. Why am I buying this prepackaged stuff.

My question is have any of you done this and what did you put in your 'flavor packet" to make the sauce?

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Old 11-15-2005, 09:58 AM   #2
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I've never liked anything about the prepackaged meals except the convenience. I'd rather use the fresh ground meat, or chicken strips (now already in pieces) and fresh veggies (already washed and trimmed). They taste much better, don't take but a couple of minutes more (if any)and you know exactly what is there. My neighbor makes a quantity of rice in her rice cooker on the weekend, portions it into plastic containers and uses it throughout the week with fresh meat and veggies and has a meal on the table in short order. I really like her method and have adapted much of it to my own liking.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licia
I'd rather use the fresh ground meat, or chicken strips (now already in pieces) and fresh veggies (already washed and trimmed).
Oh I completely agree with you here. The ones I am talking about have you add your own fresh meat (I would never use prepackaged meat) and they do not have veggies in them. Veggies I will make on my own always.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:03 AM   #4
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The main thing I think about is the amount of sodium and preservatives in the prepackaged meals. If that isn't a concern, the time saving may be worth it, but for many of us, it is something we have to watch, if not battle.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:05 AM   #5
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Yep that certainly is a concern. I watch it pretty carefully when making my own meals so I am not too concerned with these prepackaged ones as we don't use them all that often, but if we do start using them more then that will most definitely be a concern!
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Old 11-15-2005, 11:38 AM   #6
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if you can find the time to get some good fresh ingredients (vegs etc.), elaborate seasoning isn't particularly necessary, like stir fried veggs of your choice with chicken or something, with pasta or rice, they will be just delicious with some evoo, garlic and s & p!!
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Old 11-15-2005, 11:43 AM   #7
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But the defeats the purpose of the quick and easy aspect of the "boxed meal" things.

I agree that fresh veggie and a stir fry are great and easy for the most part, but they still require prepping the veggies and washing lots of dishes.

The boxed dinners I am talking about use one pan and there is no prep at all. Just brown the meat then combine with the stuff from the box. At the end you have one pan to clean and nothing else.
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Old 11-15-2005, 11:58 AM   #8
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gb, i have been messing around with goya spanish yellow rice in sort of a chicken helper way. i prefer to call it "arroz con pollo, from a box".
how do you say "from a box" in spanish?
it comes with a seasoning packet, so after browning chicken parts and setting them aside, i make the rice in the same dish, then put the chicken back in with the rice to finish.
but, i have also tried to duplicate the spices, so as to remove much of the sodium, and not to be reliant on a box.
so far, i've tried somewhat equal parts of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, dried parsley, dried thyme, sage, and a little seasoned salt. sometimes i add a little cumin and southwestern powdered peppers like chipotle, if i want it to be tex-mex.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:03 PM   #9
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Bucky that sounds like an interesting idea. I have seen those Goya rices, but have yet to try them. I am not sure why I have never bought them because they look quite good.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:27 PM   #10
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GB, I'd use velveeta. Brown your meat, toss in the pasta uncooked, add either broth or milk to cook the pasta (usually about 1-2 cups) then near the end of the cooking time toss in some velveeta and stir it til melted. Filling and tasty. Would that be allowed for you? Mixing dairy and meat? You could toss in a can of diced tomatoes instead of broth as long as there was enough liquid in them.
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