As I’ve been saying, we’re on a budget here. Still, by adding a few dollars to an existing “box” recipe, and shopping in the “discount meat bin” whenever possible, you can feed your family some fun and amazing dishes for less than $2 per person.
This is a dish my kids ALL eat up (that’s always a blessing!), and it’s pretty easy to make.
Here’s what you need:
1 box Hamburger Helper Crunchy Taco dinner (stock up when they’re a dollar!)
- Ground beef and other ingredients per the box’s instructions
1 can diced tomatoes (around a dollar)
1 can black beans
“Mexican style” shredded cheese
Extra tortilla chips
OPTIONAL: Oven with a broiler
NOTE: If using a broiler, it is VERY IMPORTANT to use a pan with a metal handle!
Begin by following the directions on the box. Brown and drain the meat, add the other ingredients, cover.
Open and drain the cans of beans and tomatoes. You don’t need to strain them, but you don’t want to pour a bunch of liquid into the mixture either. Add them as soon as possible, and bring the new mixture back to a boil before backing off to a simmer for continued covered heating. Since you’ve added some wet ingredients to the mix, you’ll need to watch it to see that it’s reduced enough to consider “done”.
Set your oven to “broil” about three minutes before you begin the “topping” steps of the recipe. Position the top rack to allow at least a few inches of room above your pan’s handle.
Follow the directions from the Hamburger Helper box for the topping and chips, and cover the mixture as described. Then add additional chips (broken into small pieces) and cheese to give your meal a nice, thick coating. Keep it on the still-hot stove for a few minutes with the lid on to start the cheese melting. If you don’t have a broiler, melt the cheese thoroughly, and remove from the heat for about 5 minutes to let things firm up.
If you have a broiler, when the cheese has started to melt, turn off the stove and move your pan to the broiler. Broilers are HOT and you will rarely need more than 3-5 minutes to get a terrifically browned cheese topping on your “off-the-shelf” masterpiece. KEEP AN EYE ON THINGS… don’t let the cheese burn.
Let it sit on the stove for about 5 minutes before serving.