Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Skillet Suppers

What busy mama doesn't love a meal in a skillet? Put together the right combination of pasta, a pound of meat and a handful of other ingredients and out comes a meal. I suppose that's why Hamburger Helper has become a pantry staple in the last 40 or so years (can you believe it was introduced in 1970?). I've never been a big fan of Hamburger helper, not that I have anything against it, but it has so many ingredients with long complex names, like disodium guanylate. I'd much rather just take some whole foods from the fridge or pantry and make my own skillet supper. If you use lean ground beef (and in the stroganoff, light sour cream) you even have a very healthy dish.

Both recipes serve 6 unless you have big eaters. Add another half a recipe for six adults.

This skillet supper recipe has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. While it might be called "spaghetti," it has as much resemblance to an authentic Italian pasta as tuna noodle casserole does to a grilled ahi tuna steak. But, that's o.k. in my boat. It's comfort food -- tasty, nutritious and budget-friendly. I make it in a non-stick electric skillet or even a dutch oven on the stovetop. I don't use my cast iron for this recipe, or any recipe that uses tomato products -- sometimes you get a metallic taste from the acid in tomatoes.

You might think I made a mistake in writing the recipe -- yes, you add the meat into the pan raw with the other sauce ingredients. It cooks into a very soft meat, like you would get from simmering your sauce all day.

Skillet Spaghetti
serves 6

Printer version

1 lb. lean ground beef
6 oz. tomato paste
18 oz. tomato juice
2 T. chopped onion (or 2t. dried minced)
3 cups water
1½ t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. sugar
1 t. oregano
½ lb. dry spaghetti

Combine all but spaghetti in a pot. Bring to a simmer; break up meat with a spoon. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Break up spaghetti in three pieces and add to pot. Stir. Simmer for 30 minutes more.


This recipe is brand new to our house, but it was a big hit. Only one kid complained about the onions, but he ended up eating his share anyway. It's a quick and inexpensive take on a old world dish that you can find variations on in many different cultures. You've likely enjoyed it before, but probably not one so easy, yet tasty. Mine is a variation on America's Test Kitchen's via Taste of Home Cooking.

Skillet Stroganoff
serves 6

Printer version

1 lb. lean ground beef
salt and pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, finely chopped (or half a large onion)
2 T. all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
3 T. red wine
⅓ lb. wide egg noodles (3 cups)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 t. lemon juice

In a hot skillet, brown ground beef, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet.

Add oil and cook mushrooms and onion until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds, then add broth and the wine, and return beef and accumulated juices to pan. Bring to a simmer.

Stir noodles into beef mixture, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.

1 comment:

Barb, sfo said...

The stroganoff is AMAZING! We ate it tonight. It smelled fabulous and tasted fabulous too.
Plus it was easy to make! Thanks for this yummy recipe.
I upped the noodles to 4 cups (and added an extra cup of broth) and it worked fine.