This dish is one of my standbys for nights when I don't have the time or inclination to cook (like tonight, for instance!)
Speedy Skillet Supper (a.k.a. frugalista's hamburger helper)
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 lb ground meat (I use turkey but pretty much anything would work-black beans is a good vegetarian option)
1 cup small pasta (macaroni or ditalini)
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables
generous 1 cup grated cheese (I use cheddar)
In large frying pan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add ground meat and cook until no trace of pink remains. Add pasta, water, milk, salsa and frozen vegetables. Simmer over medium heat until pasta is tender (you may need to add a bit more water if the mixture dries out too much before the pasta's cooked). Add cheese and stir until well mixed in and cheese is completely melted.
You can do lots of variations on this basic theme; for example, using diced tomatoes in place of salsa and mozzarella cheese, with some basil and oregano tossed in, would give it a very Italian flavour. You can also use a can of drained vegetables instead of the frozen ones. You can also use water in place of the milk if needed, however the milk adds both flavour and nutrition.
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