Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I don't know about you, but it seems that ever since we entered into the holiday season, life has been CRAZY!  I feel as though I don't have time to think straight, no less cook elaborate meals for my family.  It is in these moments that a telephone call to the local pizzeria or the drive-thru on the way home seems SO VERY tempting.  Or maybe it's the box of powdered "Heaven-Only-Knows" in the pantry, that is ready in 20 minutes, beckoning out to you.  Here's the thing.  You don't have to do it!  Simple isn't necessarily better and you know what else?  It's not necessarily faster either.   Take my Homemade Hamburger Helper for example.  A little short cut mixed with some great, fresh ingredients and you have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!

Let me show you how I did it!

Homemade Hamburger Helper:
*Prep Time: 5 min.  *Cook Time: 25 min.  *Difficulty:  Easy  *Servings: 4-6


  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 jar of Marinara sauce
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of Spinach (you can also use frozen)
  • 1 c. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 c. Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 bag of Egg Noodles
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

To begin place a deep skillet over a medium/high heat and add the oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the onions and green peppers.
Cook until they are soft and the onions are translucent.

Next, add the garlic.
Cook until you can smell the garlic coming from the pan.

Once you smell the garlic in the pan, add the ground beef.
Cook until the meat is browned and no pink remains, about 10 minutes.

Now here is my shortcut.
Once the meat is fully cooked, add the jar of sauce.

By using jarred sauce (which I will confess and tell you that I ALWAYS have on hand) the flavors are already there.  You just simply need to heat it through and it is done!

Next you will fill the empty jar halfway full of water.
Put the lid back on the jar and shake.  You want to make sure you get all that yummy goodness you paid for!

Now pour the saucy water into the pot.

You need to add a little water because we are going to cook the pasta in the sauce and it needs a little more liquid.

Another little shortcut I took here was that I added some canned mushrooms.  I like them, but it is honestly a preference thing.  You can feel free to use fresh here if you like, you would just saute them with the onions and green pepper. Or, you can totally omit them from the dish.

Now you can add the egg noodles.
Make sure you give this a good stir so that all the pasta in nestled into the sauce.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and cover.
You will cook this for 10 minutes or until the noodles are done.

Now it is time to add the spinach.
Look at that beautiful spinach I found at the farmers market.  It was so fresh and delicious.

Obviously you could use frozen spinach here as well.
Just thaw it and make sure you squeeze all of the excess liquid out of it before adding it to the pot.

Place the cover on the pot once more just long enough to let the spinach wilt.
Give it a stir and you are ready to go!

To make this even more appealing to the kids, and my husband,  I like to add some cheese on top and place under the broiler to melt.

And there you have it!

Just as quick and easy as the boxed stuff, but SO MUCH healthier for you.  Not only can you add spinach to this, but you can add carrots, black beans, broccoli, the sky is the limit!  And if you tell your kids this is hamburger helper they will be all over it!  Homemade Hamburger Helper is a GREAT, quick and easy, meal that is inexpensive and you can feel good about feeding it to your family!

So the next time you feel the urge to pull out the box, give this recipe a try!  You will be so glad you did!

And as always...

Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~


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