Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Healthy Alternative to Hamburger Helper

So, the other day, my mom, who works a lot, and my stepfather had a funny conversation. My mother is realizing she has some issues with wheat and gluten, as I do (well, it is quite possibly genetic, after all), but my stepfather can consume it all he wants. It can be somewhat of a unhappy compromise for one to watch the other eat donuts, breads and the like with no recourse.

That's where I come in.

In an effort to alleviate her gluten-free woes, I have been looking for alternatives for what they tend to eat regularly. (I've been at this for many years and in the beginning, the challenge is to not feel deprived. If you can get over that, you will find success, health and happiness in what you eat. This is usually what drops people off the wagon and back into ill health until finally their body breaks and they have to do something. It no longer becomes a choice.)

When Mom stated she was going to do her best to go gluten-free, my stepdad piped in, "Does that mean no more Hamburger Helper?" On the days when my mom works, my retired stepfather tries to cook them something fast and simple. He doesn't really like to cook, so it is usually something out of a box and into a pan. Not always the best choice for gluten-free eaters and on top of that, my mom has blood sugar issues and my stepdad has his own set of ill-health issues.

Hamburger Helper is a staple for many families and I grew up on it. It's not all bad. It's just, well, not great. There's a lot of preservatives in it and lots of wheat, fillers and flavorings that are less than natural. It's cheap food. Most middle-of-the-grocery-store foods are.

However, I made a bit of a discovery last night. I wanted something fast and body-friendly and I happened to have a packaged mix of Seeds of Change Whole Grain Blends*. It's basically quinoa, millet, rice and some herbs and seasonings. No wheat, no dairy, no fillers and no fuss. I use it as a quick side dish usually, but last night, as I stared at my ground beef, a half-cut onion and a handful of green peas, I got to thinking. Would this work? Let's find out.

So, I chopped up the onions and browned them in some olive oil and sea salt. I added the ground beef and browned that as well. When the beef and onions looked just about right, I dumped in the rice mixture**, seasonings, and 2 cups of water. I let it boil, then turned it down to a simmer, covered it and let it go for about 25 minutes, stirring on occasion. Once the water was just about absorbed, I dumped in several handfuls of frozen organic peas from Costco and let it finish cooking. The finished product was fantastic! Not only was it more healthy, higher in nutrients and vitamins of all sorts (from the millet and quinoa), the flavor was delicious. There was a nice crunch from the texture of the various grains intermingling together and the slightly sweet and savory spices added just the right hint of flavor to bring out the earthiness of the meat. It was scrumptious.

For anyone out there looking for a fast, quick and easy fix to feed your family, one box of Seeds of Change Whole Grain Blends,one pound of lean ground beef, and a little onion and some veggies will go a long, long way.

Say goodbye to Hamburger Helper and say hello to Seeds of Change Hamburger Healthiness.

FYI - There is a great coupon for $1 off a box of Seeds of Change Whole Grain Blends on their website. Go print one out and give one of them a try!

Happy eating!

*Some Seeds of Change blends have wheat, beans, and soy in them, so please read the package if you are gluten-, bean-, or soy-free.

**The package called for toasting the rice mixture before adding the water. Since I already had beef and onions in my pan, I took a separate pan and gently toasted the grains and herbs on low-medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. This extra step brings out a little more flavor in the grains and herbs, but doesn't have to be done. It's personal preference.

No comments:

Post a Comment