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The Concoction

In my household, I am often accused of cooking “concoctions”. That is, I walk into the kitchen with no plan, no recipe – nothing but a burning desire to make something that is both nutritious and filling, but also won’t get me made fun of for the next five years. Oh, and did I mention inexpensive? So I walk into the kitchen and work with what I’ve got.

Results are hit-and-miss. We’ve had eggplant parmesan wrapped in warm tortillas, a Vienna sausage pate, and one-pot spaghetti that was so ‘al dente’ the kids were comparing it to the crunch of sunflower seeds and popcorn. My mom ego takes a hit every time, but they’re smiling and eating, so as far as I am concerned I’ve done my job.

Luckily for me, my family treats it like a game, sort of a “what’s she going to come up with today?” game. They are willing to accept my experimentation because occasionally, for all the misses, we end up with a hit. They make fun until: POOF! Magic happens.

Without further ado:

Tomato Burger Concoction · 1 lb hamburger · 2 regular-size cans of crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred) · 1 4-oz can tomato sauce or paste (paste for more Tomato-Forward flavor) · 4 cloves crushed/diced garlic · 1/2 finely diced white onion · 1 teaspoon of Chipotle Cholula (or any Chipotle salsa) · 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika · 1/2 teaspoon white pepper · 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder · 1 teaspoon white vinegar · S & P to taste

· 4-5 servings of egg noodles, your favorite pasta, squash noodles or rice

  1. Sauté garlic & onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes (onions start to brown)

  2. In a Separate Pan at the same time, brown beef, dash of salt & pepper

  3. Add Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce to onion/garlic pan, combine, bring to a simmer over Med-Low heat for 4-5 minutes

  4. Add Cholula, Paprika, Garlic Powder, White Pepper, and White Wine Vinegar to the Tomato mixture, combine, and let simmer for 3-4 more minutes on Med-Low, stir occasionally

  5. Drain beef a bit (not all the fat-juice, just ~75% of it) and stir into tomato mixture, combine thoroughly

  6. Let the entire thing simmer for 3-4 minutes on Med-Low, covered, stir occasionally

  7. Serve over egg noodles, your favorite pasta, squash noodles or rice.

Serves 4-5, especially if paired with a salad. Scale proportionally for more servings. Store leftovers in fridge and eat within 3-4 days. (Tip: egg noodles don’t freeze well and will be spongy/chewy upon thaw.)

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