Italian-Style Magic Dinner

Wouldn’t it be nice if there really was such a thing as Magic Dinner? Maybe Jetson’s style? Push a few buttons and dinner magically appeared! Yes, you can grab something from the freezer section of your grocery store and let the microwave magically make dinner. But let’s face it, most of those options are not exactly healthy. Therefore, I try to limit those meals. Then you have those wonderful meals in a box just waiting to “help” turn ground beef into a meal. You know the ones! I used to buy them by the dozen in the early days of my marriage. My husband LOVED them. Seriously… was a bit insulting to the cook in the house. Ego aside, they are easy and relatively inexpensive……but they are not healthy!
So what’s a girl to do when she is trying to serve healthier meals to a “helper”-loving man? Make it herself, of course. And it is easy and even more affordable. Win, win!!!!
You can mix up your own Magic Dinner mix and store it in the pantry until needed. While the ingredients are out, mix up several. They can be stored for a long time….just use the “best by” date on your ingredients as a guide.
Now on to the recipe….

Click here for printable version

Italian-Style Hamburger Magic Dinner

Prepare your pantry meals:
(each recipe make 1 meal of 4 servings)
  • 2 cups uncooked penne or macaroni 
  • 2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or granules
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a ziptop bag or quart canning jar. Seal. Store in pantry until ready to use.

To Cook:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 recipe of Italian-style Magic Dinner (above)
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
In a large sauté pan or skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add water, tomato sauce, and Magic Dinner mix; stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 12 to 18 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Stir often to prevent sticking while simmering. Let sit a few minutes in pan, but off the heat, to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.

* I start checking the pasta after simmering for the pasta's recommended cooking time. Since it is simmering, instead of boiling, it usually takes several additional minutes to cook; but it never hurts to check. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid from the pan during the last few minutes of cooking. If the sauce to too thick, add more water a little at a time to the desired consistency.
Until next time,


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