Here’s our quick Monday evening skillet dinner, featuring hamburger, potatoes and tomatoes. Easy to make, satisfying in flavour and filling. When the kids were living at home, sometimes I would make that certain packaged dish that always had hamburger as its base. Tonight’s dinner tasted better, I know exactly what’s in it, and it took barely any more effort to make. I’m not a total purist, but it’s so much better to avoid processed foods if you can. (I think this would be a fine dish to serve my grandchildren, perhaps with a little less spice, and it’s simple for a busy Mum or Dad to make.)
It’s great to have a few quick and easy dishes like this in the repertoire, to provide a good dinner without fuss. It’s not fancy, but so tasty and comforting that I’m not sure the leftovers will survive past the end of the evening. (As I write this, I sense the Culinary Enthusiast eying the refrigerator…)
The directions for how I made this dish are below. You can follow the recipe, for sure, but feel free to modify it according to your taste and what you happen to have on hand. (As a suggestion to get your improv thinking started, you could add some partially cooked penne or rotini instead of potatoes.)
Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes
This served the two of us, with another portion left over.
- 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound extra lean hamburger
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- about 1/2 tsp dried red chile pepper
- about 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp or so dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 28-oz can tomatoes (diced or whole)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Cook the potatoes until cooked through but still firm. Drain and set aside. Brown the hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat (just put the meat directly into the cold pan – no need to add oil), breaking it up well with a spatula. When mostly cooked, add the onion, garlic, dried chile and pepper and stir. When the onions are translucent, add the tomato paste and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes to develop the flavour, then add the tomatoes, herbs and salt. (if using whole tomatoes, break up with the spatula). Add the potatoes and stir well. Put the lid on the skillet (the photo above shows it ready to be covered), and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. If you want to reduce the liquid, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking time.
The potatoes will be soft and flavoured with the other ingredients, and their starch will have thickened the tomato juice. Mmm, so tasty!
Enjoy this easy dinner with crusty bread, and perhaps a simple salad on the side.