After working for almost 20 years at the same job and then losing it (in more ways than one) and having to find a new direction in life, I am all about fast and easy.
After several years in school to get some learnin' I have finally found a job(not THE perfect job, but A job). My work hours are much more stringent than when I was in school and I need to come up with something to eat FAST when I get home. Most of my days are 12pm to 6pm. But I never get to leave on time because after the last patient leaves there are still things to do to close up for the day.
Sometimes I get really energetic and make a casserole for dinner that my SweetiePie can pop it in the oven and it will be done when I get home. But, I am not a big fan of casseroles and I don't rely on that route more than once a week. Now, SweetiePie loves HamburgerHelper. Me, I can't stand that stuff. All preservatives and pasta and meat. I like the pasta but could do without the preservatives and meat.
I had been looking for an alternative for the Stuff when I came across a recipe from Chickens in the Road and tried it out. It turned out better than the original and I have used it to mix up lots of sauce packets to have on hand for a quick meal. I have even tried it with TVP and it came out just as good. My SweetiePie does not like TVP, will not eat TVP and will refuse to try anything with TVP. But, what he doesn't know will not hurt him. So, I have been slowly adding less meat and a dash or two of TVP. He hasn't commented on the dish any time I have use TVP. Since he is supposed to be on a low cholesterol diet, it couldn't hurt to cut back on red meat!!
SweetiePie has never asked what is in the one jar in my pantry that is not labeled. I'm not telling.
I have a stash of 5 different seasoning packets in my pantry that help make it convenient. I can mix all 5 up in a matter of minutes and I always have some kind of pasta on hand to finish up the recipe.
I mixed up the first batch of seasoning packets following the recipe exactly. After trying each one out I gradually added more or deleted some of the spices to better suit our tastes. The box in the back that you can't read is Corn Starch. A staple in most prepared mixes. These are much cheaper, taste better and are more healthy than prepared mixes.
So, if you are a Harried Housewife, like I am sometimes, try these mixes and see if you get to put your tired feet up a little sooner.