I have never eaten the stuff. I think it sounds terrible - I mean you can't hardly get much more processed than hamburger helper.
So anyway, all that being said, and with love for my family and a desire for this journey to be easy for them (and a reason to throw away that last box of hamburger helper peeking out from behind jars of pickles) I thought I would try to make something reminiscent of hamburger helper without all the nastiness in the box version.
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef, try this if you cannot find a good local source
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp Italian Seasonings, I used this, or a combination of oregano, basil, and parsley
Sea salt & pepper to taste (about a 1/4 tsp each)
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder, try this
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
A scant 1/4 cup of half and half or whole milk or heavy cream mixed with 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, monterey jack, etc.)
1. Cook Ground Beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks. Add your chopped onion and tomatoes and saute until the onion is soft and the ground beef is cooked through. Stir occassionally.
2. Season: Add seasonings above, Italian Seasonings through onion powder, and soy sauce. Mix well.
3. Simmer and Finish: Add the scant 1/4 cup milk/ cream mixed with arrowroot powder. This will thicken it a bit. Simmer until the broth evaporates/ thickens, about 5-10 minutes, and then just before serving add the cheese, stir to combine. Serve immediately.
When I make this, I always serve it alongside pasta or rice or I will add beans to it in order to make a heartier meal. This is really good with any type of bean (add about a cup in Step 2 and you may need to adjust the seasonings a bit). We've also had it over white and brown rice (both good) and pasta--we tried the Einkorn pasta that's quite trendy these days and it was great. I'd recommend a short noodle. What is great about this is how flexible it is, so you can add or subtract ingredients based on what you have in the house. I have mixed kale and swiss chard in with this, about 1 cup sliced in thin strips, which is a great way to sneak in some greens. Other optional ingredients include green peppers, cabbage, and mushrooms, and in the winter when my summer tomatoes are all gone, I will make it without the tomatoes.
Never having eaten hamburger helper, I cannot say for sure if this tastes exactly like it, but I imagine it comes pretty close (hamburger, cheese, seasonings). However, my boys both said it was way better than hamburger helper ever was--that last box is history. Score one for mom! :)
This takes about 30 minutes (maybe even less) to make with the small amount of chopping (tomatoes, onions) and simmering, and grating of the cheese. It serves about four over rice, pasta, or with beans. It's really good.
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