I’m not embarrassed to admit it. In our first days of being married—yep, that was just a feeeewww years ago—Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper was totally a favorite of my husband and mine.
Maybe it’s because my mom rarely made dinner from the box that gave that dang Hamburger Helper version a secret appeal.
Or maybe it was just because it had the basic ingredients that make a comfort food dinner completely craveable: pasta, hamburger and cheese sauce.
We always doctored up the boxed version with sliced onion and mushrooms, it’s not like we could just eat it the cardboard cutout way.
But when I started reading labels and trying to pronounce words in the ingredient list that I needed to pull out the dictionary for, the boxed version went by the wayside.
But that didn’t mean my craving went away.
The day I created this recipe for my partners at Go Bold With Butter, I had a house full of 9 year olds who had just come home from school and who, as 9 year olds will be, were STARVING!
Super cheese mom to the rescue.
4 girls. 4 bowls served. 8 thumbs up.
That’s why I’m loving this homemade version so much, because it’s the base of my favorite comfort food flavor but is made with real ingredients.
About the recipe:
While it looks like a longer list of ingredients, this recipe comes together really quickly. It takes pretty much the same amount of time as using the packet version. But it’s SO. MUCH. BETTER!
Using a good quality cheese, that’s at least medium in flavor versus mild or a simple American, gives this dish its real cheese flavor.
Since I was keeping this simple and more true to the classic flavors I didn’t embellish the recipe by much. But, adding sliced cremini mushrooms and even some chopped red bell pepper to the sautéeing process would be a great addition.
I used rotini noodles but penne or another short tubed pasta would work well. Just be sure to choose a noodle where the cheese sauce and burger can hide in each bite.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground 85 percent lean hamburger
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ cups macaroni, dry
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat and add hamburger. Break into chunks with wooden spoon and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook for another 5 minutes or until hamburger is cooked through and onion is softened. Add broth, water, ketchup, tomato paste, garlic powder and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add macaroni and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until macaroni is al dente and liquid has reduced.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in another pan over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until flour is cooked through. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
- Add cheese sauce to hamburger and noodle mixture and stir to combine. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
This recipe was created in partnership with Go Bold With Butter where I am a paid contributor to their website. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you.