An easy weeknight recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper featuring savory, seasoned ground beef, an easy Cheddar sauce, diced onions and peppers.
HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER IS JUST BETTER
Hamburger Helper was a dinnertime staple in many of our homes growing up, and it was an easy quick fix dinner that often came to the rescue for busy moms. Now, as a mother of two fully energized little girls, I completely understand and relate to the end-of-the-day fatigue that hits come 5 o’clock. And, I too, from time-to-time, resort to the simple dinner that is Hamburger Helper.
The only difference? In this kitchen, it’s Homemade Hamburger Helper all the way.
Similar to its store-bought predecessor, Homemade Hamburger Helper is simple to make, yet exponentially better. I won’t lie to you. There’s a little more prep and we’ll be chopping up a vegetable or two, but we’re looking at a 10-15 minute difference.
Real ingredients make for real good food, and when we’re talking about a macaroni dish loaded with savory, spiced hamburger meat and smothered with a perfect cheesy sauce made with freshly grated cheese, really, really good food might be a more accurate description.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER
The ground beef is really the star of the show when it comes to Homemade Hamburger Helper, and the dish begins with a little browning and a whole lot of flavor thanks to a few spices. Chili powder, garlic powder, and mustard powder are a heavy-hitting trio when it comes to amping up the flavor of ground beef, and their gifts truly shine in this rendition of Hamburger Helper.
Next up, fresh vegetables. Onions and red bell pepper go for a quick sauté in the pan, soaking up and taking on all those savory qualities from the browned beef and spices. Then, a little flour is sprinkled over the top, and this is where our sauce begins.
HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER SAUCE
Now, if you haven’t noticed, we’ve been building up quite a bit of flavor in this one pan. The ground beef melded with the spices, and the vegetables picked up on the spices and took on the savory notes from the ground beef.
Now, it’s time for the sauce to start picking up on all those amazing flavors. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
The sauce is made up of milk, freshly grated Cheddar cheese, and a little cream to make it extra irresistibly smooth. A little simmer and we’re well on our way to finishing off the dish.
Once the sauce is loaded up with Cheddar and spices, it’s time to add the ground beef back into the skillet, along with cooked elbow noodles, and dinner is served.
While our Homemade Hamburger Helper does take a little extra effort than the box, I guarantee you’ll find the expense well worth it. Let’s quickly compare the two: a creamy, homemade Cheddar sauce made with freshly grated cheese and flavorful vegetables …or a packet of spiced cheese powder? I think we all know the answer here.
You can rest assured, this is effort well-worth taking, and the outcome will lead you with no regrets. A perfect dinner for busy moms, and one we can count on to keep our families happy and free dinnertime complaints. Now, if only every night could be this good…
MORE COMPLAINT-FREE KID-FRIENDLY DINNER IDEAS
If you love your crock pot, you’ll love this recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker. Just like our Homemade Hamburger Helper, it’s loaded with flavor and there’s actually less effort involved.
When you really need a night off, try whipping up a batch of Mini Muffin Corn Dogs, Pizza Bagel Bites, or Hidden Veggie Black Bean Burritos. All of which are both make-ahead and freezer-friendly. Stock up your freezer like a dinnertime arsenal with these gems, and take the night off when you really need it.
Or just check out our entire selection of OVER 30 KID-FRIENDLY DINNER IDEAS! Enjoy!
An easy recipe for homemade hamburger helper featuring a cheesy sauce made with real cheddar, ground beef, and macaroni!
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, separated
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, separated
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard, separated
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 3/4 cup freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
Cook the elbow noodles according to package directions, and set aside until ready to use.
Place a very large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break apart. Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, and black pepper and continue to break up the meat, stirring it around every so often. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and there is no longer any pink showing.
Transfer the ground beef to a colander lined with paper towels, and set aside. Add the onion and red bell pepper to the skillet and sauté, stirring often, until softened, 5-7 minutes. If needed, you may add up to 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil to sauté the vegetables.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, and stir to coat. Then, add the milk one generous splash at a time, stirring well after each addition. After about a cup or so, you may pour in the remaining milk all at once. Stir well and allow to simmer.
Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder, and stir. Remove from the heat, add in the Cheddar cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in heavy cream, along with the cooked macaroni noodles, and the hamburger meat. Serve and enjoy!