Monday, July 18, 2011

Stove Top Beef and Penne Casserole

I am all about saving time and doing few dishes, so one pan meals really appeal to me!  I have this recipe that is good, but the kids will only eat maybe one serving and the recipe makes a LOT.  Good to freeze some and enjoy later.  And it's not one pan, but we'll get into that in a minute.

2 cups dry penne pasta (or small pasta of your choice)
2 Lbs. lean ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
2 cans (12 fl. oz. each) evaporated milk
1 can (15 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. packed brown sugar
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups frozen peas, thawed

Cook pasta in large saucepan for 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions (pasta should be slightly firm in texture); drain.
Cook beef and onion in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, drain.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir in evaporated milk, pumpkin, tomato sauce, sugar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.  Cook, stirring occationally until mixture begins to simmer.  Add pasta and peas; stir until heated.

I decided the other day to make this recipe, but ran into quite a few snafus. We were out of milk and out of evaporated milk, out of tomato sauce, I usually used cooked and pureed squash, but we didn't have any.  To top it off, I started cooking only one pound of ground beef and realized that the recipe called for two pounds right around the time the first pound was done cooking and the rest of the beef was frozen and raw.  I got to thinking about the website Everyday Food Storage where Crystal talks about replacing one or two things with food storage things to help incorporate it into your diet.  She also has conversion charts for using non-instant powdered milk, which I happened to have on hand, in making things like evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk or buttermilk.  We also had two fresh tomatoes, and died onions (another food storage item), so my recipe looked more like this:

1 heaping cup dry whole wheat penne pasta (macaroni works really well too)
1 pound ground beef
2 Tbs (about, I didn't really measure) dried chopped onions
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs dry powdered non-instant milk
1 1/2 cup water
2 finely diced tomatos
1   6 oz. jar of baby food-squash
1 scant T packed brown sugar
1 scant T paprika
1 scant Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup frozen peas

Cook beef with onion, drain, add powdered milk and water, stir VERY well, add dry pasta.  Turn to medium heat, while heating, add other ingredients, cover, and simmer, stirring occationally.  Cook for about 15 minutes or so until pasta is tender.

I really reduced the salt, it's one small change we've been working on to be a little healthier.

One pan, using what I had on hand, and it was really good!  Since my tomatoes were so juicy it ended up being a little watery, but you could add a little flour or corn starch to thicken it up (interesting fact: flour will give sauces a more opaque appearance, while corn starch will give a more glossy, clear look).  It would also be good with a side of some hot homemade biscuits!

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