May 10

Hamburger Helper Italian Lasagna

I know, I know. How hard is it to follow directions on the box? And what sort of uncreative mind posts Hamburger Helper to their food blog? I do, thank you very much. Because this just isn’t any Hamburger Helper, it’s my Hamburger Helper, with my patented twist.

Some background information on me and my torrid love affair with Hamburger Helper:  I grew up eating this stuff. Honestly, who didn’t? It was reasonably affordable  and as I’ve said before, beef was extra affordable in Hawaii. I still cannot explain why. Anyway… there were only a few flavors that far back, and you better believe that we overused them time and time again.

As I got older, it wasn’t much of a staple in our diets. There was no need for it.

As I got even older, I realized just how bad it is for you. What with its huge amounts of sodium, lots of sugar, and whatever preservative type things they add into it to make it last forever. I finally swore off Hamburger Helper a few years ago, however, a few days ago, a box of Italian Lasagna spoke to me…

Driving home from work, I got this craving for something bad-for-me. I’m trying ridiculously hard to make us eat better at home. The main reason I’ve hit a weight plateau is because we’re constantly eating out. When I start complaining that we’re going out too much, you know it’s a whole hell of a lot. I actually turned down pizza last night! Anyway, back to the whole bad-for-me craving:  as easy as it would be to say “Let’s just do McDonald’s tonight”, I knew that I could have my cake and eat it, too. Making that box of Hamburger Helper I bought on a whim the other day with a few changes sounded like the perfect, easy meal after having a day from hell.

As much as I like beef, I wanted chicken. I’ve been really digging the chicken lasagna I make. Plus, infinite amounts healthier than beef. But not only would this healthier Hamburger Helper include chicken, it needed a whole bucket of shredded spinach. I love Love LOVE spinach in my lasagna now. Besides, we could all use a little more green in our diets, am I right?

I was way excited to get home and make it, and I’m insanely happy with this meal. Though I have to say, I was a little put off by the bright orange color the mix turns everything. Don’t fear people! It’s delicious!

Hamburger Helper Italian Lasagna

Ingredients

1 box of Hamburger Helper Italian Lasagna
10 ounces boneless skinless tenderloins
2 3/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup fat free milk
4 cups shredded spinach
crushed red peppers, to taste
minced garlic, to taste
onions, to taste
black pepper, to taste
extra pasta noodles (optional – used to stretch the meal a little)

Directions

1) In a large skillet, cook chicken in water and pepper. Shred or cut into bite size pieces once cooked all the way through.

2) When water has completely cooked off/been absorbed, add hot water and powder mix from Hamburger Helper box. Stir until powder has dissolved. Add milk, followed by the uncooked pasta included in the box. If you’re adding more noodles from home, do so now. Add crushed red pepper, garlic, onions, and a bit more pepper. Stir everything together. Bring to a quick boil.

3) Turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. When the sauce is thickening, add the shredded spinach. Continue to let simmer on low for another 5-10 minutes. Careful that it doesn’t overcook and the noodles stick to the bottom of the skillet.

Something fun to note:  a serving of this is approximately 250 calories, 2g of fat, 7g of sugar, and let’s pretend sodium doesn’t exist in this world.

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