When it comes to convenience, Darlene Brenden has dinner in the bag. The Salem, Oregon cook measures dry noodles and a mixture of spices into separate plastic bags, then stores them in a paper bag with canned stewed tomatoes. This "pantry kit" gives her family a head start on a hearty meal. "Since I work late occasionally," she says, "they just have to brown ground beef, and soon dinner is simmering."
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, seasonings and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in macaroni; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover; simmer until macaroni is tender and sauce is thickened. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Dinner in a Bag in Quick Cooking September/October 1998, p15
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