Hamburger, helped

Weekend Herb BloggingThus spake the commenters: the fuzzy pepper had to go.

So, on Tuesday night, I sliced it from its mother plant and carried it inside. Poor pepper. It was so small and baby-like. So firm when I sliced it up and threw away the fuzzy part. The inside was fine, as was the entire rest of the plant: leaves, stems, stalks, other peppers. Hopefully it was a total anomaly.

But, no matter. One man’s anomaly is my dinner. I had a pound of extra lean, locally produced ground beef that I’d thawed in the hopes of grilling out, but a rainy night and tight schedule conspired to keep me indoors.

I sliced up an onion (which, incidentally, also had developed a slight fuzzy spot while hanging out in my refrigerator drawer – I sacrificed that spot, as well, to the trash can), and tossed it into a hot pan. Then I cut off the offending part of the fuzzy pepper and washed and chopped the rest of it. Into the pan it went to sizzle alongside the onion.

The beef went in next, and finally, some chopped fresh sage from the garden. I used a splash of V-8 juice to give the whole thing some sauciness, and threw in the cold, leftover whole wheat pasta from Friday’s rainy-night supper. (There is probably a theme here, and theme seems to be Food Better Served In Winter.)

A dash of grated Romano cheese on top, and what resulted was something akin to Hamburger Helper, if Hamburger Helper wasn’t processed and disgusting and foul. Start to finish, this dish was prepared in less than 30 minutes (take that, Rachael Ray), with a minimum of stress, clean-up or processed food. I wouldn’t describe it as gourmet, but it’s the kind of dish that screams comfort food.

Helped hamburgerHamburger, helped
(Serves 4)

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. V-8 juice
2 c. whole wheat pasta, cooked
1/4 c. chopped fresh sage

Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat it until just before it smokes. Add the onion, and sauté for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pepper, and let the mixture cook for another five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beef, and cook it until it is brown. Add the sage and the V-8 juice. If the mix is not saucy enough for your taste, add additional V-8 juice. Let the mixture simmer for another five minutes, and add the pasta. Stir, and cook until the pasta is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, topped with grated Romano cheese.

Vegetarian? Just substitute a bag of soy ground-beef-flavor crumbles for the beef.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging. Please check out the rest of this week’s round-up for some terrific recipes.

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4 Responses to “Hamburger, helped”


  1. 1 Kalyn July 28, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    I’m glad you could convert the fuzzy pepper into something useful.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener July 28, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks, Kalyn. Me, too — it was quite yummy, both at the original meal and as leftovers. Kind of low-key and non-fussy, but delicious.

  3. 3 Judith July 29, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    Right on. I’m glad the plant is doing well, and the pepper was tasty. The recipe you invented is my favorite kind: simple, quick, whole food that tastes divine… (my synonym for Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging assignment.) Thanks for showing me the way to her blog!

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener July 30, 2006 at 12:26 am

    Judith, happy to point the way — Kalyn’s blog is terrific and filled with great recipe resources. Glad you liked my recipe!


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