Homemade Hamburger Helper: Cheeseburger Macaroni

This version of hamburger helper will keep you, your family, and your budget happy.  Keeping with the same basic ingredients, cheeseburger macaroni is something you can make at home without ruining your food budget, getting it on the table in less than 30 minutes, and feeding the crying masses in one fell swoop of a serving spoon.

Let’s talk for a moment.  I have only ever eaten Hamburger Helper once.  It was truly disgusting.  If you’re reading this and you LIKE that shit, congratulations.  Yes, it does taste good, but the negative side effects include and are not limited to: tasting like shit (I said that already), the salt factor made my aorta cripple up, and my digestive tract revolted like my middle school students on test day. I don’t often put food into the ‘shit’ category, but I have to award Hamburger Helper one of my shit awards.  It was pretty awful. I do get why people like it and make it.  It’s quick, convenient, kids like it because it has a lot of salt and other artificial flavors in it, and let’s be honest: meat, pasta, and cheese are pretty much awesome. I never ate it until I was an adult and while I’m not judging anyone’s parenting skills or palate preferences, I’d like to thank my mom for never subjecting me to this shit. Yes, I’ve said shit a lot in this paragraph.  I’m done now. Promise.

Optional: I browned the meat with onions and garlic, chopped fine but you may not have time for that, so just add the dry spices into the seasoning mix, I put those options in the recipe below.  If you take the time to add the fresh onions and garlic, you can omit them from the seasoning mix.  It’s up to you.  If you want to make the mix in advance (you can you know) to save yourself time, go for it.

You’ll need:

30 minutes

Serves 4

  • 1 pound ground beef/turkey/chicken/protein of choice
  • Optional: 1/4 c. chopped onions AND 1 clove chopped garlic (about 1 tsp.)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk of choice (I use 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • Seasoning mix:
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, near the end. (You can toss a 1/2 cup cheddar on top at the end, too, if you want.)
  2. Brown and drain the meat with onions and garlic.
  3.  Add 3 cups of liquid (water and/or milk) along with your 1 1/2 cups of pasta,
  4. Simmer covered approximately 12 minutes until pasta is cooked to your liking. If you check on it and the liquid is getting sparse, add a few more tablespoons of water.  It will thicken up when done.
  5. Stir the cheese once the pasta is done and let the pan sit uncovered for about five minutes to thicken and set up before serving. in during the last few minutes of cook time and put the cover back on the pot.
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