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


Vegetarian Jucy Lucy Hamburger

Growing up in Minnesota, I always heard about this amazing barfood called the Jucy Lucy. I was curious about this delicacy. During my treife (non-kosher) days, I was a vegetarian, so I didn’t have so much interest. Now that I keep kosher, the Jucy Lucy’s at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis are off limits. They still look tempting. Click here for the wikipedia on the infamous Jucy Lucy.

I decided to try to kosherize it. I knew I didn’t want to use soy cheese, since that stuff is pretty crappy. I decided to replace the meat. I was a bit concerned, as soy meat is a completely different consistence than real meat, and it comes very differently. It came out pretty good, I will make some fixes next time. I need to make the patties a bit thinner, and I need to slice the cheese thinner. Otherwise, it was pretty tasty.

Below is my recipe for these tasty treats.

Jucy Lucy – Vegetarian and KosherRecipe made 5 patties

1 package of “ground” veggie meat (I use the Lightlife)
1/2 package of veggie ground sausage (Also used Lightlife)
1 onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 slice of cheese for each patty – American Cheese is the most authentic

Have some toothpicks handy.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except for the cheese.

Form into 10 thin patties.

Place the cheese on top of the patties, fold up the cheese so that there is “meat” space around the cheese. Place another patty on top of the cheese up patty. Crimp the edges.

In a cast iron skillet, on medium heat, put your patties in. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip the burgers over, poke a toothpick through to allow for steam to escape, and ensure that the cheese doesn’t make the burger explode before eating. Cook another 6-7 minutes.

Serve on a bun, dress the burger as you like it. Enjoy!

Back in my college days, I remember some Jucy Lucy eating contests. I remember people boasting about how many they could eat. So…how many did you eat? Hope you enjoyed!

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