Hamburger Helper

As much as I want to get away from the pre-packaged food, I grew up on Hamburger Helper and I just love it.  The downsides to standard Helper are A) it’s pre-packaged with who knows what and B) the box you buy is supposed to serve at least four people.  But…it tastes so good that two of us have (ashamedly) polished off a whole box, extra noodles and all.

I found the recipe below and tested it today, and was pleased with the results.  The flavor was very similar to your standard “Beef Pasta” Helper.  There was much less sauce, so it turned out to be a lighter meal (although still very comforting!).  I also halved the recipe for the two of us, and we were able to eat the entire pan with way less shame 🙂

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup dried onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups dry milk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons beef bouillon
Instructions:
  • Mix above ingredients.
  • Store in a sealed container.
To cook:
  • Brown and drain 1 pound of ground beef.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup dry mix (as above), then add two cups hot water and two cups noodles.
  • Bring to a boil; then simmer, cover, and cook until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
Variations:
  • Cheeseburger Skillet – add 1 cup dehydrated cheese with the dry mix.  Or, cook as above, then stir in two cups grated cheddar or colby cheese before serving.
  • Stroganoff – add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon celery salt with the dry mix.  Stir in 1/2 cup fresh or canned mushrooms.  After cooking noodles, stir in 1/4 cup sour cream just before serving.
  • Chili – Add one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon chili powder.

Addendum:

  • After eating several batches of this, I was slightly disappointed in the way that the “sauce” was very very thin.  I didn’t need to be quite as extreme as the real thing, but wanted something to thicken things up a bit.  Based on some other recipes I saw online, I tried adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the dry mix before adding the water/noodles.  It turned out very well!  Still not a very thick sauce, but it wasn’t runny either.  Will definitely incorporate that into my recipe for future.

Addendum #2:

  • Recently I tried using ground white-meat chicken vs. regular ground beef.  I thought it was very good, and even Bob (who is convinced that you can’t replace one meat for another in most circumstances) ate it a second time.  If you’re looking for a healthier option this would be an easy way to go.  I’ve also used Morningstar Crumbles in store-bought Hamburger Helper in the past and I’m sure it would be good in this version too.
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