Let it be said now that I am not a fan of Hamburger Helper by any means. Having only tried it once, I decided that it was not worth trifling with again. However, tonight I was in need of a quick dinner idea. When I opened my freezer, the first thing I laid eyes on was the pound of ground turkey (from the same bulk package as the turkey used in this post) I had in a freezer bag. Upon looking in my pantry, I was not enticed by any of the starches, until I noticed the half-used box of wheat macaroni elbows. So I figured, why not? I can make a Hamburger Helper-type dish that would be infinite times better than the stuff that comes from that box with the goofy smiling oven mitt on it! And so I got to work…
I was going to need some vegetables to add to it, since I was not about to eat just ground turkey and pasta. If I had wanted that, I could’ve just thrown in some spaghetti sauce to the mix and had that for dinner… huh, why didn’t I think of that in the first place? That would have been way faster! But not nearly as creative! As I was saying, before I got lost in thought, I had some collard greens and one yellow squash in the crisper drawer that I nominated to be featured in tonight’s dinner. I figured it would look pretty and add some needed fiber and vitamins to the meal.
It came out quite delicious and, as expected, much better than Hamburger Helper from the store. See for yourself! Doesn’t it look all colorful and festive?
Here are your DIY instructions (measurements are approximate):
- 1-2 c wheat macaroni elbows (penne would be good as well)
- 1 lb ground turkey (or beef or omit altogether for the non-meat inclined)
- 1 yellow squash, sliced
- 3 leaves of collard greens
- 1 tbs chopped onion
- 2 cloves choopped garlic
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs ketchup
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 c water
Boil the pasta separately in a pot with a little salt. When fully cooked, remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil over a medium heat until they just start to turn translucent. Add the ground meat and all seasonings, except for the ketchup, and stir occasionally until completely browned. Add the ketchup, water and vegetables and mix in well. Turn down the heat slightly and let simmer until squash starts turning translucent and collard greens have softened.
Add the cooked pasta to the mixture and stir in until fully incorporated. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3 (depending on appetite).
See you next dish!
The Head Spoon