Not sure if you recall, but recently we adopted a kitten, Bingley. That night we didn't eat until 9pm due to the extra dose of chaos that is a kitten. But if I hadn't realized how long a chicken and rice casserole takes to cook, we would have been eating closer to 10pm. Instead of that dish, I hastily whipped up a homemade version of Hamburger Helper.
Once I realized how easy it is (and how much more healthful it is since you control sodium content and there are like no preservatives), I knew I wanted to share. Instead of a tube of ground beef, I used frozen hamburger patties we had. And instead of nasty packaged processed-foods powdered sauce mix, a simple sauce made with pantry staples saves the day and your wallet. It was absolutely delicious! I just don't know what to call it.
11th Hour Pasta
6oz ziti, or similar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup milk, cream, (a couple dollops of sour cream would even do)
3 frozen hamburger patties
1 zucchini, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
Plenty of cheddar cheese.
Boil some water and cook up your pasta.
In a small saucepan, heat up your butter and once it's melted, whisk in your flour. When it's fully combined into a sort of paste, add your chicken broth. Stir to blend thoroughly.
While the sauce is bubbling away, get a large skillet and throw your patties, still frozen, into it. Heat on medium high by the way. As they heat through, soften and cook, break them apart with a wooden spoon.
As the beef is cooking and all crumbled up, add your veggies. Stir it up! Speaking of stirring, keep stirring that sauce. At this point, add your dairy* to the sauce.
Once your pasta is done (and let me tell you, ziti cooks FAST), drain it and throw it in to the mix. Now, pour your sauce, toss to coat evenly, and maybe season it all with some salt and pepper. Plate it up, add the cheddar shreds and devour.
It was so quick, easy and delicious, I was really surprised!
*If you don't do dairy (Hi, Kat!), either skip it entirely or add some white wine for an extra tasty kick.