New York Times Hamburger Helper Recipe - (2023)

Ingredients For Hamburger Helper Recipe

Homemade Hamburger Helper | Easy Hamburger Helper Recipe

This ingredient list is pretty basic, and when combined, makes a killer easy dinner that gives the boxed version a run for its money! Heres what youll need to whip this dish up in no time:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil will do the trick here!
  • Yellow Onion youll also need ½ of a diced yellow onion, and
  • Garlic 2 cloves of minced garlic!
  • Ground Beef youll use 2 pounds of ground beef for this recipe we opt for grass-fed and finished beef whenever possible. Our favorite way to source high-quality, affordable, grass-fed and finished beef is through ButcherBox . If ground beef isnt your thing, feel free to sub ground turkey for it instead!
  • Tomato Paste 2 tablespoons of tomato paste get added to the mix, as do
  • Spices + Seasonings 1½ teaspoons of sea salt, a ½ teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Elbow Macaroni what is Hamburger Helper without macaroni noodles?! Youll need 12 ounces of elbow macaroni here feel free to use your favorite gluten-free brand or, if you tolerate gluten, use the regular stuff!
  • Beef Broth 3½ cups of beef broth gets added to the mix , as does
  • Milk 3 cups milk, and
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese 1½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese .

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How much cheese should you add?

If the youngest member of your family is a baby, I would set aside a portion for them . Here is more information about sodium for babies.

Add as much cheese as you want for the rest of the family. I’ve found that 2 cups seems to be the sweet spot.

Baby Steps Towards A Healthier Dinner

Want to know what a miracle sounds like?

Mmmmmm, this is GOOD! Really, really good!

*sigh of relief*

Enduring all the skepticism was worth it! My husband, to his credit, really stepped up to the plate and had a great attitude in front of my son about trying a new hamburger helper. I made it as easy as possible by actually getting out all the ingredients for him. It really wasnt any harder than the box.

The recipe they made that night is still the same one we use today, now with more kids.

My kids had a bunch of fun helping brown the beef and measuring the spices when they were younger. There were times I overheard him coaching Daddy on how he holds the measuring spoon and the adult pours the spice into it, and then he gets to dump it in the pan. Too cute!

He loves the fact that Dad lets him get right up to the stove and help cook, which I didnt do often at that age because I was juggling the toddler at the same time. Hes so responsible about the hot food .

Would this be healthier with real onion, some colored peppers thrown in, fresh garlic, and whole wheat pasta? Of course. Do I know how to pick my battles? One must if one is to survive in a family. Its okay to cheat a little, especially when youre taking a baby step away from something even more unhealthy. This is a good forward momentum move for us.

And how do I know my husband is finally on board with this? Hes ready to call the recipe his own: I think it would be even better with bacon.

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Mess Hall Origins And Many Names

So where the heck does it get its name? Chinese-American chop sueya dish consisting of a hodgepodge of mixed vegetables and meat stir-fried with soy sauce and served over ricewas known to Americans as early as the early 20th century. The Oxford Companion to Food and Drink traces American chop suey’s etymological origins to the 1916 Manual for Army Cooks an “urtext for many institutional foods of the twentieth century. The army recipe could be made with either beef round or pork shoulder, beef stock, barbecue sauce, and salt. By 1932, the Navy’s cookbook had added cabbage and green peppers. Practical Home Economics has a recipe entitled “chop suey” that adds tomatoes and parsley and omits the onions and cabbage.”

“by the mid 1960’s, American chop suey had lost all pretenses of being Chinese.”

But it wasn’t until laterinto the middle of the centurythat rice was dropped and replaced with pasta, and cheesea grating of Parmesan optionally added after cookingwas added to the dish. So while its cultural origins may be distinct, for all intents and purposes, by the mid 1960’s, American chop suey had lost all pretenses of being Chinese and instead reflected the same Italian-American combination of pasta, tomato, and beef that created every other mac and beef variant. Even the soy saucean ingredient which still survives in the occasional recipe todaywas eventually supplanted by Worcestershire sauce.

Here’s how I make mine.

How To Serve Hamburger Helper

New York Times Hamburger Helper Recipe - (1)
  • This is a one pot meal, meaning you can just scoop up the meal into a bowl or plate and its ready to serve.
  • I love bread so a slice of garlic bread or parker house rolls would be a great.
  • If you like a spicier version of this, you can add a tablespoon of chili powder or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. These options wont add more liquid to the pasta, just more flavor.

Read Also: Simple Mills Vanilla Cake Mix Recipes

Aa Bowl At The Bodega At Hi Line

In Dallas, there seems to be a lack of healthy food options open late at night. After coming back from a trip to Los Angeles, I was craving a good açaí bowl . Problem was, it was almost midnight when my flight landed in Dallas. I Googled the nearest places in town to satisfy my smoothie bowl urges, and to my surprise, I found what I was looking for. The Bodega at Hi Line, a superfood bar in the Design District, is open until midnight on weekdays and until 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. When I called to verify it was open, co-owner Lloyd Kim assured me that an açaí bowl would be waiting for me.

The bowls, which you can get in three sizes, come with unlimited toppings of organic fruits, granola and syrups like honey and almond butter. Additional available toppings include goji berries, chia seed pudding, bee pollen, golden berries, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and traditional ice cream garnishes. For the smoothie bases, The Bodega offers dragon fruit, coconut, mango, blue dream and passion fruit. I added them all to my bowl with zero regrets. Generous, colorful proportions, Instagram friendly, affordable, nutritional and open late what more could anyone ask for? My açaí bowl didnt even make it home. I sat in my car and devoured all 32 ounces of it. Tina-Tien Nguyen, contributing writer

The Bodega at Hi Line is located at 1400 Hi Line Dr. Suite 120, Dallas.

What Makes This Hardly Homemade

  • Store-bought elbow pasta
  • Pre-shredded cheddar cheese
  • Very little prep
  • Only one pan dirtied!
  • 9 ounces elbow pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 Large shallots
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup white cooking wine or dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 Tablespoons of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 5 slices of American or provolone cheese, ripped into small pieces
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • finely cut chives for garnish

Read Also: Lose Weight Meal Prep Recipes

How To Store And Reheat Leftovers

Store your leftover beef pasta in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you want to freeze it, store it in an aluminum pan tightly covered with plastic wrap. Itll stay fresh in the freezer for about 3 months!

You can reheat your hamburger helper on the stove or in the microwave. Add a splash or two of broth to bring back its creaminess. If you froze your leftovers, thaw them in the fridge before reheating.

Can I make this recipe ahead?

I would not recommend trying to make this homemade hamburger helper recipe ahead. This recipe is best served fresh right off the stove. When it sits and is allowed to cool, the pasta will soak up the extra liquid and it wont be as wonderful as it is fresh. The leftovers are still good, just not AS good as they are fresh off the stove.

However, if you want to meal prep before a busy week, you can always sauté the ground beef and onion/garlic before hand. Store them in ziplock bags in the fridge and have them ready to go later in the week for an even quicker dinner!

I am excited for you to try this extra cheesy and flavorful Homemade Hamburger Helper and to hear your reviews! Its a favorite easy weeknight dinner of ours and I am happy to finally be sharing it with all of you.

Looking for more quick and easy dinner ideas? Check out these other reader favorites:

Pasticciotto From Palmieri Cafe

A Childhood Classic With a Twist | Cheeseburger Casserole (aka Gourmet Hamburger Helper)

The Southern Italian pasticciotto lures me again and again to Palmieri Cafe at The Dallas Farmers Market the only place in town that makes it. The oval-shaped pastry is richer than it looks. A buttery shortcrust surrounds a generous filling of silky custard cream my favorite version is the vanilla cream, with a few Amarena cherries adding a sweet-tart spark. If you get it to-go, youll want to eat it as soon as you can. Its sold warm, which brings a melt-in-your mouth quality to the crust, and a more luxurious mouthfeel to the custard. Although pasticciotto is still good at room temperature, you could warm it for just a few minutes in the oven. Eat it at Palmieri Cafe and you can sip a superb espresso-based drink between bites.

Pasticciotto originated in Galatina, Lecce, the Southeastern Italian town where Palmieri Cafe owner Corrado Palmieri grew up. Before launching Palmieri Cafe more than seven years ago, Palmieri returned to his homeland to perfect his pasticciotto and other regional pastries, learning from a respected baker. Besides other sweet pastries including chocolate or pistachio pasticciotto Palmieri Cafe sells delicious savory pastries and calzones, too. You can order online and pickup curbside. Tina Danze, contributing writer

Palmieri Cafe is located at The Dallas Farmers Market at 920 S. Harwood St., Dallas.

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Meals From A Box Hold A Helping Of Nostalgia Too

A variety of General Mills Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper appear on a shelf at a grocery story in Waterbury, Vt. on Dec. 7, 2021. Boxed foods became popular in the 1970s as more women entered the work force. They are relatively cheap, last a long time on shelves.

My children had no idea a salad could come in a cardboard box on a grocery store shelf until I took them to buy Suddenly Salad.

The Betty Crocker meal had been a staple at my Grandmas house, where I was raised. And the trio of noodles, dried red peppers and flavorful seasoning packet brought me back there as instantly as the Suddenly Salad was made.

I hadnt consumed boxed convenience foods since I was a child, but grief over my grandmothers death before the pandemic caused me to make the special trip to the store.

Food and grief have been inextricably tied for millennia. We take food to families who have lost a loved one. We serve food at lunches after funerals. We eat our feelings. During the coronavirus lockdown, with time on my hands after a job layoff, I found myself obsessing about things over which I have no control. At night, I lay awake ruminating about how much I hated that Grandma was dead.

Suddenly Salad and its ilk, I thought, might assuage the pain by conjuring feelings of closeness to Grandma. It might help maintain her connection to my children.


In this, Grandma mirrored the womens movement of the time.



Pecans And Fried Olives At Gemma

My favorite bar snack is the piping hot Texas pecans and crisp-fried Castelvetrano olives at Gemma. Less filling than Scotch eggs, more refined than chicken wings, and way more exciting than mixed nuts, these buttery bites make for delectable and addictive little morsels to go with a drink. I ate them like popcorn, relishing the hot, creamy, crunchy nibbles almost as much as the gin in my negroni from Gemmas negroni bar. Originally from Sicily, Castelvetrano olives are considered by some to be the worlds best olives. After munching on these, I fully understood why. Amanda Albee, contributing writer

Gemma is located at 2323 N. Henderson Ave. #109, Dallas.

Read Also: Best Campbell’s Tomato Soup Recipe

A One Pot Pasta Dinner Everyone Loves

Confession time: I cant honestly remember the last time I purchased or prepared a box of Hamburger Helper.

Its not that I never havelike most moms, Im familiar with the beloved boxed pasta . But somewhere along the way, I discovered that its actually quite easy to make homemade hamburger helper recipe.

It comes together in one pot, with real ingredients, in roughly the same amount of time. Since then, I havent looked back!

Plus, this homemade version is a one-pot meal made with healthy whole wheat pasta for added fibre, and wholesome veggies like red pepper and spinach.

But dont worry! Everything all cooks down together in the cheesy sauce , so picky eaters wont even notice .

Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper

New York Times Hamburger Helper Recipe - (2)

Hamburger Helper happens to hold a special place in my heart. Its one of the first things I learned to make when I moved out on my own at 19. It was something we could afford and I loved finding ways to doctor it up and add more flavor to the boxed version.

These days, we make Homemade Hamburger Helper and my kiddos call it Cheeseburger Pasta! Its so creamy, packed with flavor and filled with cheese pasta and bites of ground beef. We sometimes even add extra cheese on top and melt it under the broiler for a few minutes!

This homemade hamburger helper is one of our kids favorite weeknight dinners. It doesnt hurt that that this recipe is budget friendly and so simple and easy to make.

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What To Serve With It

This cheesy homemade hamburger helper is really a one pot dish! You dont have to serve anything on the side if you dont want to, its filling enough on its own!

However, if you are like me, I like to have a little something green with every meal. So we often serve this recipe with a side salad or some steamed or roasted broccoli!

Hear Us Out On The Hamburger Helper Alright

By Claire Ballor

7:00 AM on Sep 8, 2022 CDT

This weeks round-up is great fodder for the sweet tooth-inclined. But there are also two savory gems in here one of which is a standout bar snack, and the other is a make-at-home meal that will take you back to your childhood.

Also, if theres something you ate recently that was so good it compelled you to send it to the group chat or post it online, I want to hear about it. Email me at or .

Also Check: Maker’s 46 Old Fashioned Recipe

What Type Of Cheese And How Much

Let’s talk about cheese for a minute because it is a very important ingredient in this dish. It makes the dish melty, gooey, and rich, and because there’s no added salt in this baby-friendly recipe, it will add a nice sharp, salty bite for the rest of the family.

For years, our go-to cheese has been Cabot Creamery. There are sooo many varieties to choose from and each one has such distinct and delightful flavor and texture. And their cheddar cheese is 100% lactose-free.

I also love and admire this company for their structure. Cabot is a co-operative owned by farm families in New England and New York with 100% of their profits going back to the farmers. What an incredible community!

I’m particularly fond of their block cheese, especially the Alpine cheddarcheese, but pre-shredded is so convenient to have around especially when youhave a restless toddler by your side 24/7.

I’ve tried this recipe with both Rustic Pizza and Mac and Cheese, and I can’t say that I have a favorite. They’re all so scrumptious in their own distinct way.

Recipe Variations Or Substitutions

Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers | NYT Cooking

  • Philly Cheesesteak version: Slice the onions and add green peppers to the sauce. Substitute the pasta sauce for a little tomato paste and extra veggie broth. Substitute the liquid aminos for mustard in the vegan cheese sauce.
  • Plant-Based Taco version: Add cumin and diced jalapeño peppers. Substitute pasta sauce for a little tomato paste and extra veggie broth. Top with crunchy corn tortilla chips, cashew cream or vegan sour cream. Add sliced green onions.

Soy Milk: If you cant eat soy or dont have soy milk on hand, you can substitute for cashew milk or light coconut milk. They will both offer creaminess and flavor to the dish.

Elbow Macaroni: Any short pasta shape will work well! You can use conchiglie and orecchiette, which both have little cavities for the sauce. Alternatively, you can opt for a small, hollow pasta like penne, rigatoni, rotelle, or ziti.

Liquid Aminos: You can substitute liquid aminos for soy sauce or tamari for savoriness and umami.

Lactic Acid or Apple Cider Vinegar: For acidity and tang, you can substitute for lemon juice.

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