Hamburger Helper was a staple in my childhood home. It was a quick box mix that had simple directions and only took water, ground meat, and the box. Plus, maybe a little ketchup to add some tangy flavor.
My mom would often have me or one of my sisters make dinner using one of the box mixes. I even made this multiple times for my college roommates and for my children when they were young. Unfortunately, as an adult my body would no longer tolerate something in that childhood staple, and I would break out in hives whenever I ate any. I may no longer buy that box mix, but I still enjoy those childhood favorites. This recipe allowed me to once again enjoy that timeless classic without worrying about any allergic reaction. My boys also thoroughly enjoy it!
A few tips when making the recipe. You will see I use half ground turkey and half beef. I do this, because I like the texture of combining the two meats and it’s a little healthier. I use one pot for the entire recipe, but I strain out the meat and excess oil setting it aside to sauté the onions. You can use a little oil to sauté with but I feel it’s quicker and healthier to just use the natural fat from the ground meat. And besides why waist it. When you start simmering the liquids and noodles, be sure to stir the bottom well. You will find that some of the macaroni will want to stick to the bottom.
Macaroni or elbow pasta tend to cook fairly quick and won’t take long boiling. As soon as the noodles are cooked through remove from heat. Even if it looks a little liquid. The sauce will thicken up and absorb into the noodles as it cools. If it is too dry add a splash of milk when stirring in the cheese. You can use any shredded cheese, but I tend to use the shredded fiesta blend. A mixture of finely shredded cheddar, jack, queso, and a few other cheeses. I only add a little at the end and allow everyone to add a little to the top if they like. I prefer to just add a little ketchup to the top. It adds a little tomato tang and gives that salty sweet finish. Either way you top it, it is sure to be a hit in your house as it is in ours. Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 pound ground turkey or just use all ground chuck
- 2 cups dry macaroni elbow pasta
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 cups milk
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- ½ cup onion diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2-3 cups shredded cheese fiesta blend
- Brown your ground meat and then strain off excess fat and set cooked meat aside. Save about 1 Tbsp of the oil in the pan. Saute onions until they start to soften then add garlic and tomato paste. Allow these to sauté a minute or two while continuously stirring, then add the browned meat back into the pot with the onions. Stir in the corn starch, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley. Then add the chicken broth, milk, and macaroni noodles. Bring everything to a low simmer and cover with a lid for about five minutes before removing lid and stirring. Check to see if noodles are cooked through and then turn off heat. Add in 2-3 cups of shredded cheese and serve with your favorite vegetable.