Wednesday, August 26, 2020

One Pot Hamburger Helper Knockoff

Let me begin by saying I have never eaten Hamburger Helper, not ever. I've heard of it, of course, and Larry has extolled its praises to me. I had intended to make tacos with the ground beef I'd defrosted, but decided to surprise him with a homemade version I'd found on the web.

Serves 4 (smallish portions) or 2-3 entree-sized portions


1 lb. ground beef

1 tbs ketchup

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Frank's hot sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup pasta (like elbows)

3 1/2 cups broth (beef or chicken, low sodium)

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar


In a large skillet, brown the beef until no pink remains. Drain completely, wipe out skillet, then return beef to the skillet.

Add the ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, pasta, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring to combine ingredients completely. 

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until pasta is cooked.

Remove skillet from the heat to stir in the sour cream. Return the skillet to low heat and stir in the cheese, combining completely. 



I can't compare this to Hamburger Helper since I've never tasted it, but this one pot meal was quick, filling, and, yes, I'll admit it, tasty and comforting. While I don't think the portion is particularly large for an entree, it is ideal for 2-3 people. I will definitely make this again when time is short and I'm looking for simple comfort food.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I have been meaning to add this recipe to my blog for a while. I've been making it on a regular basis with my orange chicken or, recently with my char siu. There's a bit of prep, which I generally do early in the day, but the dish itself comes together easily and can be on the table in under 20 minutes.

Serves 2-3 as a main dish or 4 as a side


1 medium head, about 24 oz cauliflower, rinsed

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 eggs

pinch of salt

cooking spray

1/2 small onion, diced fine

1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 scallions, diced, whites and greens separated

3 tbsp soy sauce, or more to taste 

OPTIONAL:  chopped water chestnuts


Remove the core and let the cauliflower dry completely.

Coarsely chop into florets, then place half of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice or couscous – don't over process or it will get mushy. Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

Combine eggs in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Season with salt.

Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium heat and spray with oil.

Add the eggs and cook like an omelet until set; cool, then slice in ribbons

Add the sesame oil and saute onions, scallion whites, peas and carrots and garlic about 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.Raise the heat to medium-high.

Add the cauliflower "rice" to the saute pan along with soy sauce. Mix, cover and cook about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside.

 Add the egg then remove from heat and mix in scallion greens.



This cauliflower rice is excellent as is, but I love mixing any leftovers with cooked chicken or shrimp or beef or, my favorite, diced char siu (see recipe here). I do not eat fried rice from Chinese restaurants. It's flavor is one note and I wouldn't waste the calories. This dish, however, is so good I can make it once a week. And, the leftovers are even better, if there are any.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Oven Fried Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce


Serves 4-6

For The Chicken:

  • 6 skinless chicken thighs, bone in*
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoky)
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

For The Honey Garlic Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or white or apple cider)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water


  • Preheat oven to 390°F . Line a baking sheet with baking / parchment paper and set aside.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set up a work station with 3 shallow bowls. To one bowl, add the flour and set aside. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic powder, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt and paprika. In the third bowl, mix the Panko with the vegetable oil.
  • Working one by one, evenly coat the chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in the Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Place onto prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken thighs.
  • Lightly spray each chicken thigh over the top with cooking oil spray (this is optional, but I have found it to crisp the chicken even more). Bake for 25 minutes then rotate tray and place back into the oven to cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. the crust is crispy and golden brown. 
  • While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the Honey Garlic Sauce: In a small saucepan, combine honey soy sauce, vinegar (if using) and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and quickly reduce heat to low. Pour the prepared cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and stir through until sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Set aside and allow to cool. Serve immediately with the honey garlic sauce.
This chicken is even better than chicken fried in oil. The honey garlic sauce puts it over the top and I can never help drizzling a bit on my side of rice. The chicken is juicy on the inside and incredibly crispy on the outside. The sweet and tangy sauce is so flavorful, it just requires a drizzle to make this a chicken dish you will want to make again and again.