Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

I need to come out now and admit that I’m a stalker. I’m a grocery cart stalker. I like to see what other people are throwing in to their carts. I like to know what other people feed their families. I’m so curious. I always feel like nobody shops or cooks like me. I know that many people do. It just seems that whenever I’m in the checkout line at the store, the carts on either side of me come from a totally different food planet. There are thousands upon thousands of food items that people seem to stockpile – while I would never consider food. I just walk on by the boxes of Lean Cuisine and Lipton Skillet Meals. When I see things like that, the heavily processed foods, I get curious. What makes them so good? Aside from their MSG and other heavenly chemicals?

The other day, I peeked at a box of Hamburger Helper. I’ve never tried something like it. So many ingredients were listed on that side panel. I wondered if I could recreate something similar. Something the family would enjoy. Must fill 4 bellies plus possibly more for lunch the next day. It also must be budget-minded. It’s not intended to be gourmet, but I could up it’s worth a bit, simply by what I have on hand.

I honestly don’t know if what I made tastes anything remotely like what’s in the box, but we enjoyed it. That’s all that matters, right?

Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
1 package of soy ground beef (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
8 mushrooms
1 can diced italian tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
2.5 cups elbow noodles
1 cup shredded cheese

In a large, deep saute pan or pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter mixture.

Add in the beef crumbles and the spices. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Add in the mushrooms and diced tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring.

Add in the sauce and the liquid.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Add in the pasta.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Cook until the pasta is al dente. About ten minutes.

Add in the shredded cheese and cover the pot for about a minute or two.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Serve with some shredded parmesan cheese.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper


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