Not Hamburger Helper

In an effort to get back to our normal healthy eating I’ve  declared our house a virtually grain free  zone (aside from oatmeal) and let me tell you it has been a bit more difficult than in the past! Good for us food is a bit more expensive & juggling cooking time with an almost 5 month old is quite the experience, but I am determined to make it happen. Recently, we were driving back from a trip and we began talking about food we ate growing up vs. food I currently keep in the house. Cory said, “we don’t really have much pre-packaged stuff like hamburger helper or chips, I grew up eating that.” I said, “so did I, but it’s not best for us to eat that stuff if possible and it’s cheaper for me to make stuff from scratch without preservatives.” Cory responded, “it doesn’t get much cheaper than hamburger helper!” Touché’, my love. FYI: I thoroughly enjoyed Hamburger Helper beef stew, it doesn’t really taste like stew, but it’s my favorite of the helpers. Often prepackaged stuff is cheap and easy. Why is that? Can we do something about that? I promise if we put effort into making whole foods more affordable, the price of health care would go down! (This would be my platform if I was running for government!) Now, before you think I’m hating on our Moms here for feeding us hamburger helper, let me just say NO WAY! Our moms did the best they could with what they had by way of time, energy and cooking chops. We both have hardworking moms that had full-time jobs, raised babies & served in the church. I’m not sure how they made it all happen. I am very thankful we always had food to eat. Now, as an adult I have found that I feel best & am healthiest when I eat less processed meals and less carbs. (OH HOW WE LOVE OUR CARBS! I’M A CUPCAKE BAKER!) So, I try to come up with meals that my husband finds yummy & are good for us but taste like they aren’t. Here is our latest dish that satisfies:

sweet-potato-brulee_11-18-12_6_caHawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole:


4 medium or 6 small sweet potatoes roasted in the oven until just tender then mashed (I leave the skins on, but you can take them off if you desire)

Choose EITHER 3 TBS of butter or 4 oz of softened cream cheese. (I guess you could put both if you really want to, I use whichever I have on hand)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp nutmeg (don’t skip this, unless you hate nutmeg)

1 lb of ham cooked & diced (I found a really good deal on a ham .69 a lb)

1 cup fresh pineapple grilled & diced (don’t skip the grilling, you can even just brown in a skillet, so much flavor!)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix 1st 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix well, then mix in ham & pineapple. Spoon into a 9×13 or 8×8 baking dish (the 8×8 is filled to the brim), top with chopped pecans and bake until heated through & pecans are roasted.

Suggestions: You can either eat this as a whole meal or as a side with a steak or chicken. You can also replace the ham with bacon if you prefer. If you don’t like pineapple throw in dried cranberries or fresh diced apples. Really the possibilities are endless!