Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to 'Beef Up' Packaged Food to Add Originality

Many of my friends will make comments about products I get free or cheap, and talk about how they don't like to serve their families food straight from a package.  It is very easy to add your own touch to some of these packaged goods, to make them healthier, and stretch to feed more people.  Some of these packages can barely feed two people, so adding extra ingredients can provide leftovers or the ability to feed more people.

Tonight for dinner, I made Hamburger Helper Crunchy Taco Meal for my family.  It was expiring this month, and I had ground beef in the freezer.  To prepare, I followed the package directions, and made the following modifications:

After simming the rice for 20 minutes, I added cooked red kidney beans and corn to the mixture and cooked it an additional 5 minutes.

Instead of using the tortilla shells in the box, we opened a bag of baked tortilla chips.  I laid the chips out on a plate, poured the taco mixture on top, and topped with cheese and tomatoes.  You could add black olives, jalapenos, lettuce, or salsa on top as well!

Both my daughter and husband LOVED the meal, and said it was better than the 'regular' nachos we have.  It fed all three of us, plus I have enough left over for lunch tomorrow!

This tasted MUCH better than preparing it according to the box instructions.  I have done similar things with Tuna Helper (made with my own large package of pasta and veggies), Velveeta Shells & Cheese (added veggies and cubed ham), and even Stove Top Stuffing (cooked with chicken broth and celery).

What do you do to 'beef up' your boxed foods?

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