Ah the power of the smiling Gloved Hand. He’s super skilled at creating whine free dinners and the secret delight of untolled husbands. What’s not to love? All you have to do is open the box, dump everything in the pan, add your meat and presto (or in about about 30 minutes) you’re a Dinner Diva! Look at you!!!!
But I know how to beat him at his own game.
Why would you ever want to? Well, true, he’s friendly enough, but he’s also using about 4 different types of food coloring in each box and he’s well preserved enough to last at least 2 years in your cupboard shelf.
Going Inside the Box
Pasta: Probably THE signature ingredient in the Hand’s recipe. Pasta spells magic to kiddos–use about 1 + 1/2 cups of small pasta (elbow macaroni or shells) in your own helper kit;
Cheese: Cheese makes almost anything taste good. In the box it’s powdered cheese, of course, but you can use 1 cup of your favorite shreds for out- of- this- world,original flavor;
Liquid: The Hand uses about 3 cups of liquid–usually some combination of milk and water–for its consistency and its sauces. You’ll need to do the same;
Ground Beef: Feel free to think outside the beef for a second. You could easily use any ground meat: chicken, turkey, or even sausage. Whatever meat you choose, you’ll need 1 pound (16 oz) of it.
Spices: No, this is NOT the time to go weak in the knees. You CAN make a mix that’s every bit as good as the Hand. Start with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and sugar–okay, the box uses more of both but let’s keep the high-blood pressure and diabetes to a minimum, shall we?– (Yes, the Hand uses sugar. Look at it this way: at least now you’re in control of how much you eat. Don’t like the 1/2 teaspoon idea: add more or leave it out, altogether, at your pleasure.) Now to build flavor: think about recipes you know and enjoy. Mix together the spices they call for in increments of 1/2 teaspoon each. (Go small at first. You can always add more later.) Do the fingertip test. Do you like what you taste? If not, go back to the drawing board. If you’re totally stuck for flavor inspiration, call your mother or one of the sweet old ladies at church. They’ll know what to do! 🙂
Add if You Like: Don’t go crazy, but it’s fine to to add things like onion, mushroom, or bell pepper. Just keep your dices small and limit them to about a 1/2 cup each.
Your kit works exactly the same way the Hand’s does, so cook Skillet Helper the way you normally would. There’s still no need to boil pasta ahead. Everything cooks in one pan.