Friday, October 24, 2014

White Glove Treatment: A Recipe

Add the toppings you want: In this photo, it's corn chips, additional shredded cheese, green onion and chopped red peppers.
I've always found the Hamburger Helper mascot to be a little ironic. It's a grinning four-fingered white glove. I suppose the idea is that this "helper" is going to give me a "hand" with dinner. But why four fingers and not five?

And when I think about the "white glove treatment," I guess I'm envisioning something a little more formal than a hamburger casserole.

I've never bought a box of Hamburger Helper (or Tuna or Chicken Helper either), since I grew up knowing how to make a casserole from scratch. But, I must be an anomaly. Hamburger Helper was first introduced in 1971. In 2005, Food Network listed Hamburger Helper as Number 3 in its list of Top 5 fad foods of the 1970s.

When Jill told me she'd made a recipe called Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper, I made a mental note, but I didn't rush to try it. But it had some good things going for it: I had a recommendation from Jill, and it was ready in 30 minutes. Another plus? It was from Iowa Girl Eats, one of our favorite food blogs.

So I tried it last week, and I will definitely make it again. I served it with a green salad. It was fast, easy and we had enough for leftovers, too ... bonus!
Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats blog

1 pound ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 taco seasoning packet
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup long-grain white rice (basmati or jasmine)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Toppings: Corn chips, salsa, sour cream, additional cheese, chopped green onion, chopped green or colored peppers, avocado, etc.

Brown ground beef with onion in a large skillet until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is tender. (You may also use dried, minced onion, if you prefer, or to save time.) Drain well. To the drained meat, add taco seasoning packet (without the water called for on the package). Also add salsa and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add rice. Place a lid on top and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Place lid back on skillet; let sit for 5 minutes. Serve, allowing each person to top their portion with their desired toppings.

Notes:  You can use mild, medium or hot salsa to suit your taste. You may also use your own homemade taco seasoning, if you prefer not to use the packaged variety.