Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper is an easy and delicious dinner that tastes amazing and is just as fast to make as the boxed version…only made with real ingredients! This is one of my go-to, weeknight ground beef recipes that I just love. Ready in a flash and cooked in only one pan, too.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper | The Easiest Dinner Ever

I really like having these fast “I don’t have to think about it” dinners in my back pocket. While I never really grew up eating the boxed Hamburger Helper, I certainly enjoyed my fair share in college. But now that I’m a mother, I definitely can appreciate the point of a fast dish like Hamburger Helper, but much prefer making it homemade. And, funny thing is it doesn’t take that much longer to make it from scratch and it tastes waaaayyy better.

What is Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger Helper is an easy boxed pasta dish that you can find in the grocery store next to the boxed mac and cheese. It usually comes with dry pasta and a seasoning packet which you then cook with meat (usually ground beef).

pouring tomato sauce into pan over macaroni

Main Ingredients Needed

Okay I admit, this list is long, but this recipe could not be any easier! Here’s everything you’ll need to make homemade Hamburger Helper:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to cook the ground beef and onion.
  • Ground Beef + Onion – I used a 93/7 blend of ground beef and yellow onion, but you could just as easily use a white onion or ground turkey.
  • Elbow Macaroni – you can use whatever shape of pasta you’d like, I just kept it classic by using macaroni.
  • Beef Broth – this helps cook the pasta while still providing flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce – this is the base of the sauce.
  • Milk – this also helps cook the pasta while keeping things creamy.
  • Garlic Powder, Chili Powder + Ground Mustard – some seasonings to give it that classic Hamburger Helper taste.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – another flavoring agent, a little goes a long way!
  • Salt + Pepper – and don’t forget to season as you go, these make everything better.
  • Cheddar Cheese – you can make this as cheesy (or not) as you’d like.
  • Half & Half – or use heavy cream. This really makes the sauce creamy and dreamy.
  • Parsley – this is a garnish and is optional.

Can You Make Hamburger Helper without Milk?

Yes, you sure can! While the milk adds a creamy flavor and I’d suggest using it, there are other ingredients you can add that could be considered good substitutes:

  • canned evaporated milk
  • nonfat dried milk whisked together with water, according to package directions
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • extra beef broth + 1-2 tablespoons butter

If you love Homemade Hamburger Helper, try these other ground beef + pasta recipes:

cooked hamburger helper in skillet

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

For full details on how to make Homemade Hamburger Helper, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Cook Ground Beef + Onions

In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.

Create Sauce and Cook Pasta

After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk. Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. We are going to cook the pasta in the broth/sauce mix we just created. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching. This should take 10-12 minutes total, depending on how long it takes for your pasta to cook.

Add Half & Half + Cheese

After your noodles are completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed. Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste, adjust seasonings, top with parsley and serve.

homemade hamburger helper on white plate

What to Serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper

An easy dinner needs an easy side dish or two! Here are some of my go-to’s. With pasta, I love adding salad or some kind of cooked veggie. And garlic bread is always delicious.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

Print

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper has tons of delicious flavor minus all of the chemicals and preservatives found in the boxed version!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword hamburger helper, homemade hamburger helper
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 608kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef 93/7
  • 1 1/2 cups onion diced
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or more
  • 3/4 cup fat free half and half or heavy cream
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.
    cooked ground beef and onions in skillet
  • After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk.
    pouring milk into skillet for homemade hamburger helper
  • Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching.
    adding Worcestershire sauce to skillet
  • After 12 minutes*, your noodles should be completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed.
    cooked hamburger helper in skillet
  • Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    adding grated cheese into homemade hamburger helper
  • Top with parsley (optional) and serve hot.
    homemade hamburger helper in large skillet

Notes

*Your cook time with vary based on the pasta you’re using. Check the packaging for estimated cook times.

Nutrition

Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 781mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 3mg

The post Homemade Hamburger Helper appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Minestrone Soup

This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months and even more perfect in a homemade bread bowl.

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone Soup is a hearty Italian soup that includes vegetables, broth, and pasta (or rice). It’s one of those great soups that are delicious, vegetarian, and packed full of nutrition. I personally love the stuff and could eat the entire pot. It’s warm, satisfying and one bowl will fill you up! Like lots of other dishes, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. I’d recommend lightly simmering this soup for as long as you can and then 10 minutes before serving, put in the pasta to cook OR just cook it separately and serve it alongside. Top the whole dish with some parmesan cheese and crusty bread and that’s dinner!

Main Ingredients Needed

Overall, Minestrone Soup is a pretty healthy meal! If you don’t like certain vegetables in the recipe then you can omit them or substitute them for other ones. Here’s what you need:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to saute the veggies that need a little more cooking time than the rest.
  • Onion, Carrots + Celery – these three form the base of this soup. Lots of vitamins and minerals here.
  • Chicken Broth – use a high-quality chicken broth for the best results. If you are looking to keep this recipe vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Dark Kidney Beans + Garbanzo Beans – rinsed and drained. I used these to add in some protein to make this meal more filling.
  • Tomato Sauce + Diced Tomatoes – these are added to help make and flavor the broth.
  • Cabbage – if you don’t like cabbage then substitute it for zucchini. Zucchini is a pretty traditional ingredient for Minestrone–I didn’t have any on hand but feel free to add it in.
  • Basil, Oregano, Salt + Pepper – don’t forget the salt and pepper when it comes to the seasonings.
  • Short Cut Pasta – I used mini shells but you could use whatever short cut pasta you have, or even use rice or couscous!
beans in colander getting poured into minestrone soup

Variations

I am a firm believer that you should use ingredients that you have on hand or ingredients that you like. Because of this I encourage my reader’s to make variations to my recipes if they want to. Here are a couple ideas for Minestrone Soup:

  • Add Meat: I made a meatless soup but you can easily add in ground beef, chicken, Italian sausage or another type of protein.
  • More Vegetables to Use: you could sub out any of the vegetables listed about to make this soup your own. Some ideas include: spinach, potatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, green beans, peas, butternut squash, or collard greans.
  • Flavor Enhancing Ingredients: this could be anything from adding garlic to adding lemon juice/zest. There are a lot of variations out there so go crazy and experiment away.

How to Make Minestrone Soup

For full details on how to make Minestrone Soup, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Saute Veggies

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until slightly softened (the rest of the cooking will continue later in the recipe)

Add Broth + Other Ingredients

Stir in broth, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and cabbage.

Simmer + Cook Pasta

Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer it cooks the better the flavor becomes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.

Top with Parmesan

Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.

close up of minestrone soup

Storing Minestrone Soup

Any leftover Minestrone Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If the soup seems too thick after storing it, just add some more broth when you are heating it back up in the microwave or on the stove top.

Freezing Instructions

Because this is a broth-based soup it freezes beautifully! Cool completely then simply store in a freezer-safe container, leaving an inch or two of space at the top to account for expansion, for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight then heat over the stovetop.

close up of minestrone soup

More Italian Soups to Try!

If you liked this Minestrone Soup you are bound to like my other Italian soup recipes!

The printable recipe card is down below, enjoy 🙂

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

Print

Minestrone Soup

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This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months!
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword minestrone soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 242kcal
Author Lauren

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery washed and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 15 oz dark kidney beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz garbanzo beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz tomato sauce 1 can
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes 1 can
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup short cut pasta such as shells

Instructions

  • In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in butter and oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
    sauteed vegetables in big pot
  • Stir in water, chicken broth, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and cabbage.
    cabbage and spices in minestrone
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.
    adding pasta to soup
  • Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.
    ladling minestrone soup out of pot

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 949mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 5mg

The post Minestrone Soup appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air fryer meatloaf is so juicy and cooks in a fraction of the time and clean up is a breeze.

This meatloaf contains a mixture of meat & seasonings and its topped with a delicious zesty topping!

sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf

Why Make Meatloaf in the Air Fryer

A classic meatloaf is a favorite meal and we love this air fryer version for a quick weeknight dinner.

  • this can baked in about half of the time compared to an oven recipe.
  • the fat drips away into the pan so the meat doesn’t cook in the fat.
  • this makes 2 smaller meatloaves so they’re easier to handle (and you get more of the crispy edges)
  • cleanup is a breeze (I have the Cosori 5.8QT XL and a quick rinse and it goes into the dishwasher

No Air Fryer? No problem!

ingredients to make Air Fryer Meatloaf

Ingredients

MEAT We use lean ground beef (80/20), however, a combination of ground beef and ground turkey or pork can work just as well.

VEGGIES Finely diced bell pepper, onions, parsley, and garlic add flavor.

BINDER & SEASONINGS Breadcrumbs are mixed together with milk and egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, and a handful of Italian seasoning.

Ingredient Info

The topping in this recipe contains chili sauce (which is not spicy) and ketchup and it’s my favorite part of meatloaf.

If you’ve never had chili sauce, it is like a very zesty tangy ketchup with tons of flavor. It’s amazing combined with BBQ sauce and put on burgers and ribs.

process of making Air Fryer Meatloaf

How to Make Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air fryer meatloaf is a super quick and easy way to put a delicious meal on the table, and it takes just a few easy steps!

  1. Mix all of the ingredients, shape them into two equally-sized loaves (per the recipe below).
  2. Place meatloaves in the air fryer basket & cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add topping and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches 165°F.

Remove meatloaves from the air fryer & allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf in the air fryer

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t overmix the meat, mix just until combined.
  • Preheat the air fryer before adding the meatloaf.
  • Air Fryers can vary so be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf and ensure it reaches 165° F.
  • Check the meatloaf early to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Add more time as needed.
  • Rest the meatloaf before slicing so it doesn’t fall apart.
  • Keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat in the air fryer or the microwave.

Air Fryer Faves

Did your family love this Air Fryer Meatloaf? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air Fryer Meatloaf

Juicy & tender, this Air Fryer Meatloaf is easy to make and full of flavor.
Course Air Fryer, Beef, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 340
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ green bell pepper finely diced
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup onion* finely diced, see note
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 350°F.
  • Mix all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl just until combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 2 and shape into small meatloaves, about 5″ long by 2″ wide.
  • Cook in the air fryer for 20 minutes.
  • Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Add topping and cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until meatloaf reaches 165°F.
  • Rest 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

For a milder onion flavor, fry the onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. Cool completely before adding.

Don’t overmix the meat, mix just until combined.

Preheat the air fryer before adding the meatloaf.

Air Fryers can vary so be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf and ensure it reaches 165° F.

Check the meatloaf early to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Add more time as needed.

Rest the meatloaf before slicing so it doesn’t fall apart.

Nutrition

Calories: 340 | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 709mg | Potassium: 542mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf with writing
Air Fryer Meatloaf in the air fryer and sliced with a title
sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf with a title
close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf with a title

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies