Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Before I introduce you to tonight's dinner I have to tell you a story. Aren't you just too excited?!?! CarGuy likes going to storage auctions which sometimes results in a lot of junk that we end up having to get rid of. One such auction resulted in boxes upon boxes of war novels. That is definitely not my cup of tea so we sold a lot of them in a garage sale and donated the rest to Goodwill. However, in the middle of all these war novels is this older than dirt cookbook that gives you "365 Ways to Cook Hamburger" -- well...a quick look on the publication page let me know it's not as old as dirt but it's certainly older than me - published in 1958. The author was this guy who looks like a cross between a young Ronald Reagan and the Beaver's dad. His bio is hilarious and I quote, "Doyne Nickerson has been an actor, a hydroponic gardener, an advertising writer, a printer, and - during the depression - a young man who ate hamburger three times a day and leaned to prepare it in dozens of different ways." He goes on to say that his hobby is collecting hamburger recipes and that he cooks hamburger for his wife and young son. If you find you just have to have this treasure for your own library, head on over to Amazon; there are at least 36 used copies available for .01 each!! So now that I've written the longest recipe intro ever, on to the recipe:

You will need:
2 T Olive Oil (EVOO as Rachael Ray would say -- took me forever to understand what she was talking about but I'm kinda slow that way!)
1 pound Hamburger
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
1 crushed clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp of the pre-minced garlic in the jar like I use)
1 No. 2 1/2 can tomatoes (I have no idea what size that is so I used a 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 6 oz can of water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1 T salt
2 bay leaves (I didn't use these since I didn't have any and it turned out fine)
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp marjoram
8 oz uncooked pasta (I used a 12 oz package of whole wheate penne)

Brown your hamburger meat in the 2 T of EVOO breaking it into smallish pieces.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the pasta and then bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
Place 1/2 of the meat mixture in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Layer the uncooked pasta over the meat mixture.
Finish it off with the remaining meat mixture and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
The official recipe says to sprinkle parmesan cheese on top when it's finished -- I just put the cheese out so the family could add it to their own if they wanted it.
The recipe says it serves 6 and I would say that is about how many servings you can get out of it unless you have a kid like SwimBoy living in your home and eating all your vittles. In that case figure on this feeding 4 with no left overs.

What I'd do differently next time:
I think I would use egg noodles instead of the penne. The penne didn't get as tender as I like and the noodles that were at the edges did not get soft at all. I think egg noodles would turn out better and I'd be sure and keep the noodles completely covered by the meat mixture. It also seemed a little dry so I think I'd also put in 2 cans of the water instead of one. Next time I'm going to chop the onions rather than slice them -- I like smaller pieces of onion. I think I'll also add a can of whole kernal corn to the mix too.

Weight Watchers Counts:
If you're on core and make it exactly as I did above and leave off the parmesan cheese, it is totally 100% core and I didn't even plan it that way! If you're on flex, you'll need to count 9 points without the parmesan cheese.