Pros: easy to prepare
Cons: did not like the taste
While grocery shopping a few days ago, my daughter convinced me to buy a box of Hamburger Helper Lasagna. This is not something I would normally buy as Id prefer to make a homemade casserole instead of using a boxed mix. But since my husband was out of town and I lacked the time to make a homemade dish, I caved in and bought the box. It was on sale for only a dollar and I have to say that Im glad I didnt spend any more than that!
This is something that my husband definitely would not appreciate for dinner. First of all, the box contains mainly pasta and that is not good for him to eat too much of. Second of all, the flavor was quite weak and the only resemblance to lasagna that I could see was the shape of the noodles. And, third, for the four of us, this box would never have been enough for dinner even though the box claims that it has 5 servings (and one of my family is only 2 and eats a minimal amount!!)
Hamburger Helper Lasagna comes in a 6.4 ounce box and shows a picture of the finished dish right on the front. Somehow in the picture, it looks pretty good. Inside the box is a bag of pasta and a pouch of seasoning mix. The pasta is a ridged edge noodle that somewhat resembles the edges of a real lasagna noodle.
The finished dish, which really is quite easy to prepare, contains a pound of ground meat that you add in with the pasta and seasoning mix. In my opinion, it lacks flavor and is not very tasty at all. I taste the pasta and meet along with a very weak sauce. The sauce is supposed to be a red tomato type sauce but I taste very little flavor in it at all. In addition, I found the sauce to be quite runny even though I followed all of the directions in making this dish.
My daughters opinion, however, was quite different. She found this lasagna to be delicious and very good. She ate the helping that I put on her plate and asked for seconds and ate that up too. She did comment that it was not nearly as cheesy as the real lasagna I sometimes make and she missed the cheese. Oh, and I have to let you know that I actually added cheese to this dish even though the directions did not call for it. I put some mozzarella cheese on top once it was finished cooking and it melted there as it sat waiting to be served. My son ate a few bites and would not eat any more even though he normally likes pasta and meat.
Directions for Preparation
The preparation instructions are written in a very easily to understand format on the back of the box. The first thing you do is to brown one pound of ground beef or ground turkey that you purchase separately. I drained of the excess fat and even rinsed the ground beef as I normally do when I used this type of meat. Next you are supposed to add the uncooked pasta, seasoning mix and 3 ? cups of hot water. Heat it to boiling while stirring occasionally and then reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 14 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender. I found that it took a good 18 minutes before the pasta was tender and enough of the water was evaporated. Still, the sauce was quite runny and I felt that maybe I should have cooked it even longer. The directions say that the sauce will thicken upon standing but mine never really did thicken.
What I like
I like that this is very simple to prepare and it really is an inexpensive meal. I like that you only need one pan and that it cooks pretty quickly. I added some broccoli and corn to the meal and felt it should have been a complete meal. However ..
What I did NOT like
The taste of this product did not appeal to me. That was a major problem since I did not want to eat something I did not really care for. Fortunately, my daughter at least liked this so she had a good dinner. Me, I ate broccoli and corn for dinner!
I was actually pretty amazed at the nutrition label on this product though I guess I should not have been. Supposedly, there are five servings in this 6.4 ounce box. With the little bit I ate and the little bit my son ate along with the two decent sized portions my daughter ate, there was only one portion left over for my daughter to eat for lunch the next day. To me that is no more than 4 servings AT MOST but really less than that because I surely did not get a filling portion and neither did my 2 year old son.
But anyway, if you really do divide this into five portions, each prepared portion is 280 calories. The mix itself only contains half of a gram of fat which is one percent of the recommended daily total but when you add the meat, it jumps to 17 percent of the daily total for fat. The mix also contains 26 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein. Probably the worst thing is that it contains 820 mg of sodium which is 36 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Imagine eating more than one serving and you have even more sodium that your body doesnt need. There are a few vitamins and minerals in this product but that is mainly because the pasta is enriched. Thus, we see that we can get 2% of vitamin A, 4% of iron, 15% of thiamin, 6% of riboflavin, 8% of niacin and 10% of folic acid. This really seems minor to me when I consider the bad parts of this meal!
I found that this was not an appealing solution to dinner. Next time when I am in a hurry, I will simply heat up some chicken nuggets or something because at least I can eat that whereas this was not even something I would choose to eat. Better yet, I will try to plan ahead and make a homemade casserole that is a similar blend of ingredients but one that will be homemade and taste much better and be much healthier as well!