Almost free Skillet Meal: Penne Hodgepodge

"Hodgepodge" is a jumbled mixture. Find stuff in the fridge, cook it in a skillet and you have a free hodgepodge meal.

“Hodgepodge” is a jumbled mixture. Find stuff in the fridge, cook it in a skillet and you have a free hodgepodge meal.

I liked cleaning out the fridge and freezer so much, I checked the fridge again this week. Yes, it was difficult to decide which older food be sent to the compost pile, but I erred on the safe side because it is “Better safe than sick.” On the bright side, I found more stuff to eat: 3 cups of cooked penne whole wheat pasta, wilting celery, older mushrooms and 1 Roma tomato.  Perfect!

So I placed my “free” hodgepodge of leftovers on the counter, added a can of Cream Of Celery Soup, 2 green onions from the garden and 1/2 pound of range-fed lean ground beef. and proceeded to assemble a hodgepodge penne noodle skillet meal. 

Hodgepodge was defined eons ago as a thick European stew. Now it has a broader meaning like “jumbled mixture” “mixed bag,” or ” assortment”. I think this skillet meal qualifies as being hodgepodge.

To make the one skillet meal:

  1. Heat 3 T oil in a large skillet and brown the ground beef. Remove the fatty drippings.
  2. Add 1 1/2 C chopped celery, 1/2 C sliced mushrooms and chopped green onions to the hamburger.
  3. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and 2 T powdered onion and garlic
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer for 20 min until celery is tender-crisp.
  5. In a bowl, mix the chopped tomato and its juice, celery soup, and 1./2 C water and add it to the skillet.
  6. Rinse the penne noodles with hot water and add it to the skillet.
  7. Simmer until the mixture reached 160 degrees F and serve with salad and fruit.

Note: A home-made white sauce is better than a can of soup but I  wanted to speed this up.





This entry was posted in basic cooking, beyond the basics, pasta on by .

About Don R

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Retired teacher. Multiple successful business endeavors including screen printing / sporting goods business, executive director of a Boys & Girls Club, commercial fishing, and co-founding an alternative high school. Interests include family, hiking, cooking, Parkinson's research and developing an educational cooking program.