Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I'm pretty much the only food blogger I know, but last year, Laura's friend started her own.  Fresh Mama is probably far more legit of a food blogger than I am; she makes up her own recipes and has a Facebook account for it and everything.  And of course, she has some pretty good recipes.  I tried a couple out recently, and here is the first one.

It's probably not surprising that I have never had Hamburger Helper.... first of all, because it has hamburger, but second of all because it comes in a box.  I am really not much of a box eater and I never have been, because my parents weren't.  Besides Ramen noodles and Spaghettios, we have always been real food eaters.  With that said, I know millions of people have loved Hamburger Helper for years.  This is one of Fresh Mama's recipes that Laura tried and she talked me into trying it for myself.

Here's how it works: you make a healthier, weird chemical-free version of the powdered mix.  It makes such a big batch, you will have enough for 5 batches of Hamburger Helper.  Then you mix it up with ground beef, elbow macaroni, and cheddar cheese.  Apparently, that's that!  I couldn't stand to serve my family a meal without any vegetables, so I added peas, corn, and a shredded carrot, but that's up to you.

I wrote directions on the bag to make it even easier!
I made this one night when Nick, Mom and Kenzie were over; Mark was out, so he didn't get to try it.  Nick loved it, as I knew he would; it just seemed like his perfect meal: cheesy, saucy meat and noodles!  Kenzie liked it a lot too.  The two of them were so happy with it, I ended up giving them the bag of seasoning mix so that they can make it next time.  My mom was also a fan, but she thought it was a bit too sweet (there are a tablespoon and 2 teaspoons of sugar in the seasoning mix).  Again, we aren't sure what the real Hamburger Helper is like, but we are guessing that it's a little sweet.  If you aren't a fan of the sweetness, feel free to reduce it or cut it out.

The bottom line is that this recipe can really streamline your dinner preparation.  Once you have the seasoning mix, you just brown the burger; add hot water, milk and seasoning; add the pasta, and cook (and any vegetables if you are so inclined!).  The cheese gets mixed in last.  And voila: dinner is ready.  Not so vegetarian-friendly, but definitely budget- and clock-friendly :)


homemade Hamburger Helper
from Fresh Mama

for seasoning mix: *will make enough for 5 batches
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
for meal:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups elbow or small shell macaroni
3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoons seasoning
1 cup shredded cheese


1) First, make a bulk batch of seasoning.  Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar and mix thoroughly.  This makes 5 servings of seasoning.

2) Brown ground beef in large skillet.

3) Add hot water, milk, and seasoning.

4) Add macaroni.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low 10 - 12 minutes until pasta is tender.

5) Once pasta is cooked through, add cheddar cheese and stir well.

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