Hamburger! It's what I always pull out of the freezer in the morning, when I have no clue what to plan for dinner that evening. It's a sure thing that by dinnertime I will have whipped up a family pleasing meal in little time and with little thought or planning.
Dishes made with hamburger as the core ingredient may vary greatly, but in my opinion they are almost always the easiest to make and usually the most budget friendly too!
Hamburger has such versatility that it can be used for any snack, appetizer or meal, and yes that includes breakfast! For a delicious new twist, try adding some scrambled hamburger the next time you make hash browned potatoes. Sprinkle with a little shredded cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream.
Here's a great recipe for an appetizer or side dish. This is a great dish for a party, because it makes a lot and can be kept warm in the oven. The recipe can be easily halved if a smaller amount is needed.
Auntie's Stuffed Red Potatoes
6 pounds of small red skin potatoes
4 Tablespoons butter
4 cups of your favorite shredded cheese
1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups miracle whip
4 teaspoons mustard
Boil the potatoes until they are tender, but still firm. Cool until they are easy enough to handle. Cut the boiled potatoes in half and scoop the potato pulp into a bowl. Set the shells aside for now. Scramble the hamburger in a frying pan over medium heat until browned. Add the hamburger to the potato pulp and add all other ingredients. Mix well. Stuff the mixture back into the potato shells. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
This next recipe is one I will always cherish, because I learned to make it from the Italian exchange student we hosted last year. My Italian "daughter" worked side by side with me in the kitchen to teach me the authentic Italian way of making ragu. This has since become a family favorite. In America we call this "spaghetti", but in our house it's now known as "Pasta with Ragu," which simply means pasta with meat sauce. This dish is so simple and delicious that I will never buy jarred sauce again.
Pasta with Ragu
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 pound hamburger
small amount of extra virgin olive oil
1-2 peperoncinos (tiny hot dried peppers- If these are not available use 1 teaspoon
crushed red pepper flakes)
1 16 oz. Can diced Italian style tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
oregano to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Start by heating 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and stir until tender. Add peperoncino and garlic and stir for one minute more. Add raw hamburger to onions and stir fry until cooked. Add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir in salt, pepper and oregano to taste. The secret to this quick and simple recipe is to let it simmer on low heat for several hours, the longer the better. Take care to watch closely. Stir often and add water as needed. The sauce should be wet, but not watery, so add water only in small amounts, usually 1/2 cup at a time. When dinnertime approaches, simply boil your pasta in salted water. (An Italian can tell if you neglected to salt your pasta water!) Drain your cooked pasta and add to ragu. Toss the spaghetti well to coat. Some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a nice green salad with vinegar and oil dressing and a few slices of garlic bread go well with this meal. Buon Appetito!
Besides these favorite recipes of mine, there are countless ways to use ground beef. The boundaries are limitless. Most people are familiar with the common ways to use hamburger, such as the obvious cheeseburgers, sloppy joes, chili, and tacos or nachos.
For a truly kid-approved meal try mixing scrambled hamburger into some macaroni and cheese. And if you're not afraid of becoming a little less popular you can even sneak in some vegetables. Corn, carrots or peas work well here.
Shepherd's Pie, is yet another family favorite. Simply brown hamburger with 1 coarsely chopped onion and three cubes of beef bullion. Add packaged brown gravy mix and 1/2 cup water. Alternate layers of the meat mixture with layers of mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar cheese, and broil until the cheese is browned.
For more ideas and recipes, visit www.allrecipes.com or www.cooks.com
Type hamburger in the search window and you'll be off discovering many new recipes, like stuffed pepper soup, hamburger casserole, cabbage and hamburger casserole and many more.