I know Hamburger Helper isn’t that classy. But sometimes we just like things that are easy and taste good. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
I can’t honestly remember the last time I purchased or prepared a box of Hamburger Helper. It’s not that I never have, it’s just that with awesome recipes like this one inspired by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, you no longer have to. I changed up the recipe a bit to suit our tastes and boost the nutritional value a little bit more.
I could have called it something like, “One Pot Beefy Macaroni”, but I wanted to appeal to those people who might be eyeing up the Hamburger Helper box on the grocery store shelf. This is just as easy, and way better for you!
I am a big, big fan of meals that cook all in one pot. Meat, sauce, cheese, pasta, veg — everybody in together. And if I can go through that little effort and come out with two — or more — suppers in the end? Even better.
I made this and doubled it to bring with when we went to visit friends of ours who had just had a sweet little baby boy. It is such an easy recipe to double, and takes no extra time or effort at all. It’s also an easy recipe to change up, adding in your favourite sauces, cheeses or vegetables and swapping out others.
*NOTE: I have given you the ingredient list I used for a double recipe below, just to make it easy for you if you want to make an extra to give away or put in the freezer. The instructions are exactly the same, so I won’t repeat them. If you are planning on saving in the fridge and baking later, or freezing and baking later, I would be sure to cut a few minutes off of your pasta cook time — the noodles will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want them mushy.
*Update: February 18, 2015:
Because there were a few comments regarding the amount of liquid, I wanted to test out the recipe as written and see if it needed adjusting. We made this for supper tonight, according to the measurements given, and had no issues with excess moisture. I wanted to add a few tips just to be sure it works out the same way for you:
- I use whole wheat or high fiber pasta all the time. If you’re using white pasta, I recommend reducing the broth to 1 cup to start. As the pasta is cooking, if you notice that the liquid is completely absorbed before the pasta is cooked, add in an extra 1/4-3/4 cup broth and continue cooking.
- Cover and let sit for a 3-5 minutes before serving — the pasta will thicken as it cools slightly after the cheese is added (this note has been added to the recipe directions).
*Recipe and photos updated October 16, 2015, just in case you’re looking for this recipe:
Try these other One Pot Pastas, too!
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (or more, if you like it spicy!)
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 cube frozen spinach (or about 1 cup fresh, chopped fine)
- 1½ cup milk
- 1½ cup beef broth
- 2½ cups dry, uncooked macaroni
- 1½ cups tomato or pasta sauce
- 1½ cups shredded cheese
- To a large pot add beef, onion, peppers, pepper flakes, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and spinach. Cook over medium high heat until beef is browned.
- Add in milk, broth, macaroni and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 12-15 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in 1 cup of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- 2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes (or more, if you like it spicy!)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1-2 cube frozen spinach (or about 1-2 cup fresh, chopped fine)
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 3 1/2 cups beef broth
- 5 cups dry macaroni
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 3 cups shredded cheese
You might also like these BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos!
More one-pot dinners from friends!
One-Pot Spinach and Pea Pasta from Savory Nothings.
One-Pot Shrimp Linguine from Sweet Peas and Saffron.
One-Pot Vegetable Curry from The Food Charlatan.