This is a quick and kid-friendly dinner recipe for healthy homemade hamburger helper. It’s the first time I’ve something like this, and apparently I need to do it more often.
Let’s talk about comfort food.
What’s your all-time fave?
For me, it’s chips and salsa. It just makes me happy and I feel like I could eat this at any time, anywhere.
I’m also a huge fan of pretty much anything that can be wrapped in a tortilla.
(Random side note: the Pilot ordered me a blanket that was supposed to look like a tortilla so I could be a real-life burrito. Sadly, it was an Amazon fail, but when he told me he ordered it, I felt real, true love. I guess buying me any type of tortilla is my love language?)
I was chatting with my friend Betsy about comfort food and how much the kiddos tend to prefer meals that are casserole-y or rice-y, or something that just shrouds your soul in a carby blanket. She mentioned that she had been making a homemade version of Hamburger Helper for her boys and they go crazy for it, and instantly my ears perked up. I’m ALWAYS looking for quick meals that the girls will love, so it was something I definitely wanted to try out.
Hamburger Helper was a fairly common meal in our household growing up. Madre could cook it extremely fast in between baseball practices and dance class, and my brothers and I all went crazy for it. The idea is pretty genius: sauté some meat, add some spices and noodles, and boom. Dinner is served.
I thought I’d experiment with my own little healthy version of Hamburger Helper and was so excited when dinner was done in less than 20 minutes… and the girls cleaned their plates… and asked for seconds.
Here’s the super easy recipe if you’d like to give it a try, or pin it when you need a quick, kid-friendly dinner option!
Healthy homemade hamburger helper:
- 1 lb ground beef
- Worcestershire sauce
- 14.5 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups water (more as needed)
- 2 1/2 cups elbow pasta noodles
- Shredded cheese for serving
- In a large saucepan, add the ground beef with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Brown well, and add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
- Remove the beef and allow to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- In the saucepan, add the milk, water, tomatoes, and seasonings. Season well with salt and pepper and bring up to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the noodles and beef, and cover.
- Cook according to package directions for the pasta, but keep in mind that it may take a little bit longer. You might need to add a little more water if the sauce gets too thick. Our noodles said they'd take 15 minutes but it took closer to 20 minutes.
- Stir in 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend) and top with extra cheese to serve.
- Feel free to switch it up with ground turkey and add extra veggies.
Madre often made amaaaaazing enchiladas, and at my dad’s house, he made “yellow chicken” (a delicious curry grilled chicken) once a week.
Another comforting kid-friendly dinner recipe: this cheesy chicken casserole.