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Friday, February 7, 2014

DIY: Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

For those of you NOT in the US.. there's a boxed/convenience food here called "hamburger helper". Hamburger refers to ground beef, or mince (as we call it in NZ).

The basic premise is, you brown the beef, and add the packet of stuff and some water/milk and then you have ... dinner?

The husband loves this stuff. Grew up eating it. If you know me at all, you'll know that I read labels on boxes of stuff like this, and I just can't say I'd be jazzed about serving this to my family. I'm sure once in a while it's fine, but I just... can't. Way too many things I can't pronounce and some that I can pronounce, but don't really want to eat.

However, the husband wants what the husband wants. Since I'm a fabulous wife and all ... I decided it can't REALLY be that hard to create a homemade (and therefore less scary) version, right?

I actually enjoyed this. Sure, there are no vegetables in it, so I had to get over that (and you could easily add them), but it was really tasty.  The best part was - it was all made from things I already had in the pantry/fridge, and came together REALLY fast.  I've half a mind to make up little bags of it, with instructions on the front so the husband can make this when he "needs" this comfort food (or for when I have a newborn, toddler and am recovering from childbirth, perhaps?)

I may mess with/change up the spices and amounts next time, but thought this was a pretty good first attempt. It's probably a cross between "cheeseburger macaroni" and "lasagna"

The husband? Loved it. Thought it was "better than the box". 

Well, DUH.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups macaroni, or any pasta shape you have lying about
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Brown beef until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any fat.
  3. Add the pasta, milk, water and spices and stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
  6. Add the cheese and mix thoroughly.
  7. Serve!


  1. My dad grew up on this stuff. It was one of the things he served us when my mom was out of town.

  2. My husband requests Hamburger Helper all the time, and I do make it more than I care to admit, but I've been looking for a good copycat recipe! Can't wait to try this one.


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