It's been over a decade since we published our first Desperation Dinners recipe, and we couldn't help but wonder which 20-minute meals readers have enjoyed most over the years. So we decided to take a poll, and the result is our very own Desperation Dinners Recipe Hall of Fame.

The first inductee — "Hamburger Stroganoff in a Hurry" from March 1996 — was nominated by Leane Trovitch of West Allis, Wis.

"The reason I love it is it's so easy and delicious, and I can get three vegetables into my husband, who does not like many vegetables," Leane says. "Also with the use of the light soup and sour cream, it cuts the fat and calories. I've even used ground turkey."

Stay tuned. Our trip down memory lane continues next week with another Hall of Fame recipe.

Menu suggestion: Hamburger Stroganoff in a Hurry

Chilled pineapple rings

French bread


Start to finish: 20 minutes

Cook's notes: Frozen French-style beans also come in 16-ounce bags. Use half a bag for this recipe. Do not use fat-free sour cream. It may curdle. Regular cream of mushroom soup and regular sour cream may be used.

1 bag (12 ounces) yolk-free egg noodles

1 pound 93-percent-lean ground beef, fresh or frozen

1 large onion (or about 1 cup chopped)

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

2 cups already-sliced fresh mushrooms

1 box (9 ounces) frozen French-style green beans (see Cook's notes)

1/4 cup sherry wine (not cooking sherry)

1 tablespoon ketchup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup

2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream (see Cook's notes)

salt and black pepper to taste

1. Place the noodles in 2 1/2 quarts of already-boiling water and cook 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, if the beef is frozen, run it under hot water so you can remove any packaging. Place the meat on a microwave-safe plate and microwave, uncovered, on high, for 2 minutes to defrost slightly. While the hamburger defrosts, peel the onion and begin heating a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, stirring often, turning to break up the meat as it begins to brown. Coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the beef is crumbled and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Add the green beans to the pasta pot, cover the pot to bring it back to a boil, then crack the lid and cook until the noodles are tender and the beans heated through, about 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, add the sherry, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, paprika and the mushroom soup to the skillet. Stir well until it is completely incorporated. Lower the heat to simmer the mixture, then add the sour cream and stir until the sour cream is completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Drain the noodles, and toss to distribute the green beans evenly. Spoon some noodles and beans onto each plate. Top with sauce and serve.

Serves 6

Approximate values per serving: 431 calories (22 percent from fat), 11 g fat (5 g saturated), 57 mg cholesterol, 28 g protein, 54 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 551 mg sodium

Beverly Mills is a former food editor of the Miami Herald food section and a mother of two; Alicia Ross, a former food columnist for The Raleigh News and Observer, also has two children. They have been living the desperate life for years and years. Send desperate tales of woe or everyday success stories and your favorite quick recipes to Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at You can e-mail Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at © United Feature Syndicate Inc.