Homemade Hamburger Helper Saturday, Mar 1 2014 


Homemade Hamburger Helper

1lb hamburger
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green peppers, chopped (optional)
2.5 – 3.5 cups tomato juice*
1 3/4 cup buttermilk**
2 cups macaroni, uncooked
1tsp sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
Cheese, optional

In large pot, fry meat, onions, and peppers. Add tomato juice, milk, macaroni, sugar, chili powder and salt. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until noodles are tender. Stir in cheese if desired. I stirred in some parmesan and cheddar.

Quick-meal tip: I cook large batches of ground beef/onions and keep it in the freezer for quick meals. If you have precooked ground beef like that, all you do is throw all the ingredients together in a large pot, simmer until done! Quick and easy!

Variation: I’m sure the seasonings could be swapped with others to change up this meal a bit if desired. I like the simplicity of this one.

*I used whole wheat noodles and used 3 1/2 cups. With white noodles, you would need less. Start with 2.5 cups and add ore as needed until the noodles are cooked through.
**I used milk with a bit of vinegar added. I’m sure it would work just fine with regular milk.

Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie) Wednesday, Dec 5 2012 



Tourtière is the French word for meat pie. Tourtière is a very French-Canadian Christmas dish. Christmas would not be Christmas without eating this!! To me, it’s much more important than a turkey. 🙂 Every year, I make several tourtière, freeze them, and we enjoy many meals of it in December.

Here is the recipe I use. Scroll below for pictures of the progress! 🙂


1lb ground pork/beef*
1 onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp all spice
1/4 cup dried mashed potatoes, approximately
2 pie crusts (top and bottom crusts)

Place ground meat and onion in a pot. Add water until it covers 3/4 of meat mixture. Simmer an hour. Place in the fridge overnight to cool off (which hardens the fat), then skim off the fat. Reheat meat mixture. Add seasonings. Stir in dried mashed potatoes to thicken the meat mixture. Spoon into pie crusts, cover with additional crust. Cook at 350F for 45min to 1hr, or until crust is golden brown.

Cook before freezing.

To reheat: place frozen tourtière in a pre-warmed 350F oven. Cook for one hour until warmed all the way through. To prevent the crust from getting darker, you can place a piece of foil on top.

*Traditionally you would use all ground pork. Personally, we don’t eat a lot of pork, so we use ground beef. Just as yummy! 🙂


Big pot full ground beef, minced garlic, and chopped onions! This will make several pies (multiple times the recipe!)



Add water to the ground beef/onion/garlic mix. (I sometimes add grated potatoes to my mix…)


Simmer meat mixture for an hour.



Refrigerate overnight, skim off fat, reheat mixture, and pour into unbaked pie crusts.




Put top crust, then bake according to directions above. Freezes well (once baked) to reheat later!

Spaghetti Sauce Friday, Oct 12 2012 

My boys LOVE spaghetti (or macaroni). I’ve always served it to them with sauce, so they’ve always liked the sauce. I make my own, and always make a large batch so that I can freeze a few containers for future meals.

Spaghetti sauce is a great way to feed your picky eaters lots of vegetables they would not eat otherwise! My boys don’t like the texture of onions or celery. Little do they know that I put loads of those through the food processor and into the spaghetti sauce. 😉  I sometimes add grated zucchini, or mashed pumpkin/squash, or other vegetables that I have on hand or are in season. What do you add in your spaghetti sauce? 🙂

While I’m sharing a recipe for spaghetti sauce, I should be honest and say that I seldom follow the recipe. I just throw ingredients together in a pot (or crockpot) and let it simmer away! Instead of diced tomatoes, I often just start with a huge can of tomato sauce (not pasta sauce). It’s so versatile, play around with this recipe! 🙂

Spaghetti Sauce

1lb ground beef
1 Tsbp oil
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (14.5oz ea) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (8oz ea) tomato sauce
2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp sugar (cuts down acidity of the tomatoes)

Cook beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic for 2 minutes, drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 45 minutes (or all day in the crockpot!).

Serve on top of noodles, or mix with cooked noodles, place in casserole dish, top with cheese, and broil in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Homemade Salami Friday, Sep 21 2012 

Years ago, my Mom found a recipe for homemade pepperoni, and we made it quite regularly. We loved eating it plain, on crackers, or on pizza.

About four years ago, I decided to try a couple variations of it, a summer sausage and a homemade salami from Tammy’s Recipes. I fell in love with the salami recipe, and that’s the main one I’ve been doing every since.

So, if you’re looking for healthy homemade meats for easy lunches (great with cheese slices and crackers), to send on school lunches, or on pizza, make sure to try this yummy recipe! 🙂

The only thing I do different, is that I like them to be cracker size, so I make 10 rolls from the recipe instead of 3 like the recipe says. 🙂

Easy Mexican Lasagna Wednesday, Jul 11 2012 

Today, I bring you yet another recipe by Kaillie Fagan! I appreciate the several recipes she has submitted to be published here. They look easy, and yummy! This summer is a busy time for my family and I, and it’s great to post a few recipes by someone else. 🙂

Easy Mexican Lasagna

9 tortillas
1 lb ground beef
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 can of black beans (drained and rinced)
2 cups of strained diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt and oregano
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup salsa

Heat oven to 350F. Spray rectangular baking dish. Cut 6 of the tortillas in half, and then 3 in 2 inch strips.

In a small saucepan,bring strained tomotoes, garlic,salt, oregano, and chili powder to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large non stick frying pan cook ground beef. Strain it and set aside.

Add oil to frying pan, cook onion until softened (3-4 minutes). Add black beans and corn. Return beef to frying pan. Stir one cup of salsa. Mix it well.

Place the tortillas in a way that the bottom on the pan is covered (should take 2 tortilla and 3 strips). Top with ¼ of the cheese and half of the meet mixture. Repeat tortilla layer, cheese and meat mixture. Top with remaining tortilla and salsa. Sprinkle remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Slice and serve with sour cream.

Lasagna Friday, Mar 9 2012 

When I got married, a mentor of mine put together a recipe book with some of her good trusted recipes which has been using for years. What an awesome wedding gift! This lasagna recipe is hers, and I’m sharing it in case you don’t already have a recipe. Who doesn’t like lasagna?! 🙂


12 lasagna noodles
1 1/3lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 jars pasta sauce (500-700ml each) – I use homemade
2 Tbsp parsley
1 container (500g) cottage cheese
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheese

Cook 12 lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes.*

Cook ground beef and onion. Stir in pasta sauce and 2 Tbsp parsley.

Mix cottage cheese with the egg.

Spread in layers, in a 9×13″ pan:
1/4 meat sauce
1/4 meat sauce
Cottage cheese
1/4 meat sauce
1/4 meat sauce

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving, as it sets the layers better.

*My Mom told me that you can skip cooking the noodles first, even if they are not ready-to-use noodles, as long as you have enough liquid in the lasagna and cook it a bit longer. That’s how I always do mine now! Saves a step, saves some dirty dishes, and is much quicker!

German Pizza Monday, Feb 6 2012 

This is a nice recipe because it only takes one frying pan/pot. It’s one of those very basic meat and potatoes type of casseroles, done on the stovetop. I think it would be a good one to do while camping next summer, actually.

Thanks to my friend Glenda for sharing the recipe. 🙂 It’s from one of her Mennonite cookbooks. I’d give credit, but I don’t know the name of the cookbook. So thanks to the Mennonite lady who included it in the cookbook. 😉

German Pizza

1lb ground beef (I used cooked, diced chicken I had on hand)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper (I used red since that’s all I had)
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter
6 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese

In frying pan, cook ground beef, onions, green peppers, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper; drain. Reduce heat to low, melt butter. Spread potatoes over melted butter and sprinkle with remaining salt. Top with beef mixture. Combine eggs and milk, pour over all. Cook covered, on medium heat, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Top with cheese; cover and heat until cheese is melted. Cut in wedges or squares to serve.

We ate ours with ketchup on top. 🙂

Taco Meat Seasoning Wednesday, Jan 25 2012 

I love homemade anything. Same goes with taco seasoning! I never bought it when we first got married because it didn’t fit our student budget. One day I had tortillas at a friend’s house, seasoned with taco meat seasoning… oh! It tasted like heaven compared to plain old ground beef thrown in a tortilla. 😉

Then I noticed that MSG triggers some of my frequent headaches/migraines, and most taco seasonings in the store contain MSG. Thankfully, I found a homemade recipe for taco seasoning that I love!

I mix up this batch, put it in a labelled container and it’s as easy to use as an envelope of store-bought taco seasoning! Yum!

Try it out in the above pictured Taco Lettuce Wrap! Yum!

Taco Meat Seasoning

1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
4 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry minced onion
1/2 tsp beef bouillon powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Mix all ingredients together. When ready to use, sprinkle some to taste on top of cooked ground beef, add a little bit of water, simmer until most of the liquid has cooked away. You’ll be left with a slightly ‘saucey’ taco meat!

Pakistani Kima Friday, Jan 6 2012 

My friend Glenda and I were exchanging recipes a while back. She gave me this recipe and said it was very good. The name sounded unique, the ingredients a bit odd, and I never made it. Then we visited again. And SHE made it for US! The first bite had my tongue wondering what in the world was in this dish. Each bite that followed made me love the recipe more! 🙂

I made the recipe within a week of coming home, as we quite enjoyed its flavour! If you want to try a recipe that only requires staple ingredients, but is very unique, this is it! I will be making this again for sure. 🙂

Pakistani Kima

3 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1lb ground beef
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of each: pepper, cinnamon, ginger and tumeric
2 cups cooked tomatoes (I used an entire 28oz can of diced tomatoes)
1 cup peas or green beans
2 cups potatoes, diced

Saute onion and garlic in butter. Add ground beef and brown well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve over rice. Garnish with coconut.

Taco Lettuce Wrap Monday, Jan 2 2012 

I was browsing Pinterest the other day, and came across a recipe for Turkey Taco Lettuce. Basically, instead of using a taco shell, or a tortilla, you use whole lettuce leaves to hold your taco toppings.

What a great idea for reduced calories! Plus, I never buy taco shells, and seldom buy tortillas, because they are pricey up here. Once in a while I get around to making homemade tortillas though, and that’s always a treat! Why did I never think of using lettuce leaves?

That same night, we have taco lettuce wraps! It was very yummy. 🙂

Carefully spread a leaf or two of lettuce, add whatever toppings you want, wrap and eat! Of course, it still makes a bit of a mess, it still ends up falling on the plate, but that happens even with tacho shells and tortillas! 🙂

Toppings I’ve used on tacos:
Ground Beef, seasoned with a homemade taco seasoning
Turkey pieces, seasoned with a homemade fajita seasoning
Beans, any kind works!
Sour Cream
Thousand Island

What toppings do you like on tacos/tortillas?

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