When I was younger every Friday my dad made dinner. My favorite Friday dinner was when he made Peas and Macaroni. I enjoyed watching him make it (he always seemed happy). I also enjoyed eating it, lots of it!! I know this was a meal he had when he was growing up. This is another “Depression” food but as far as I am concerned it is definitely not depressing! One thing though, my mom always bought the LeSeur brand canned peas. I also still buy the same peas. Sometimes I will use frozen peas and a can of chicken broth. It just doesn’t seem the same. When I make this meal all I can think of is my dad getting home from work on a Friday night, having a beer in the breezeway sitting on the steps, then coming in the kitchen and making the most delicious meal for all of us. Don’t knock it until you have tried it!
Peas and Macaroni
1 pound pasta (I use large elbows, you can use whatever you like. I find the smaller pastas go better with this dish.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large or 2 small green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans of peas, not drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
2. While pasta is cooking add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to fry pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions and peppers. Cook until onion opaque, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add garlic, oregano and basil. Stir together.
4. Add 2 cans of peas. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
5. In the meantime drain pasta in colander, then put back in sauce pan.
6. When peas are heated through add to the pasta. Mix the pasta and peas together.
Kent has been bugging me to check out the Hamburger Helper website for dinner ideas. He knows I am not going to buy a box of Hamburger Helper but I will certainly try to make a rendition of a recipe. I finally checked it out today and found a recipe Kent suggested that I decided to make. It was quite yummy…oh and simple and delicious. It also took under an hour which works for all of us. I found this recipe at, where else, America’s Test Kitchen. Here goes, give it a try!
Skillet Hamburger Mac and Cheese
1 pound – Hamburger
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (to make fresh bread crumbs, pulse 2 slices of hearty white sandwich bread (I use Pepperidge Farm Country White Bread) in a food processor until coarsely ground)
Salt and Pepper
3 3/4 cups water
1- (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
12 ounces (3 cups) elbow macaroni
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
8 ounces Monteray Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1. Brown ground beef in 12 inch non skillet pan over medium high heat, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper to now empty skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes (I ended up removing the ground beef fat also, I added 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to brown the crumbs). Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
2. Bring water, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to simmer in now empty skillet over medium high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring often until al dente, 8-10 minutes.
3. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup evaporated milk, hot sauce and cornstarch together in bowl, then stir in pasta. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheddar, Monterey Jack, and ground beef. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve!
I have been making this recipe forever. The only thing I did different this time was add bread crumbs on top per Eric’s request. It was a nice touch. Another simple and delicious meal.
Macaroni and Cheese
1# elbow pasta (I use large elbow. You can use whatever you want.)
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup gouda cheese, shredded
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzeralla cheese,shredded
(I weigh out 16 ounces of cheese. You can use just cheddar if you like. I generally use a mix of different cheeses. Gruyere is especially tasty! My family likes the different cheeses.)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Make elbow pasta per directions on box
3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Once cheese is mixed through turn off heat.
4. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in saute pan. Add bread crumbs and stir until toasted
5. Drain pasta. Gently stir pasta into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.
You will love it. Very easy to make, even during the week. Give it a try!!