Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ground Beef Goulash aka Hamburger Helper

The nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter: Fall is on it's way.  While I love the green growing seasons of spring and summer best, fall is in third place.  I'm starting to want to smell comforting aromas in the kitchen.  This is a very quick variation on Goulash, which is slow cooked for hours.  The ground beef cooks up quick with lots of rich gravy and tender noodles all in one pot.

Kids of all ages love the comforting noodley goodness of this quick cooking, full-flavored meal.  It looks like hamburger helper - it's so much better tasting and better for you.

Ground Beef Goulash
1 lb. 90% lean or better ground beef
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 teaspoons paprika
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1 tablespoon cold black coffee (you won't taste the coffee)

1 cup water
1 can (1 1/2 cups) beef broth
2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles
1 cup frozen tiny sweet peas

Spray a non-stick dutch oven with cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Stir to break up the ground beef into small pieces.  Cook 6-10 minutes, stirring often to break up beef.  You want it to get brown (not just gray).

Combine gravy mix and water.  Add to pot with coffee, paprika and water.  Add uncooked noodles and stir to wet all noodles.  If necessary, add additional water so liquid almost covers the noodles.  Cover.  Bring to a boil; reduce to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Stir in frozen peas; cover pot.  Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes.  Stir well and serve.

Yield: 4 (1 1/2 cups) to 6 (1 cup) servings

Before you ask Why?:
- you can totally omit the coffee, but the gravy will not be as rich tasting. 
- using a high sided Dutch oven instead of a skillet helps contain spatters.
- not using a Hamburger Helper mix saves money, fat and salt.
- cooking the beef until it browns adds flavor because the natural sugars are carmelized.

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