This Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is one that my mother started making long before making homemade versions of processed foods was en vogue. I suppose this is a sign that looking for ways to remake childhood favorite foods has always been in the stars for me.
Growing up, we called this “Chili Mac”. My dad gave it this name – supposedly it has something to do with the fact that it always reminded him of a much more delicious version of something he used to eat while in the army.
Regardless, it actually took me years to realize that what I was actually eating (and making) was a homemade version of Hamburger Helper, since we never actually ate the boxed stuff. The first time I made this for the Mr., he walked in the door, took one look at it, and exclaimed (with glee), “It’s Hamburger Helper!” He then proceeded to eat almost the entire pot. This has since become one of his favorite things.
The great thing about this recipe is that, aside from being on the table in 30 minutes, you can change things up however you like. Add more vegetables, add fewer vegetables. Use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. The possibilities are endless, really – endlessly delicious.
When I’m making a quick dinner like this, I rely on my favorite cookware to make things even easier – good quality pots and pans heat up faster, cook food more evenly, and are easier to clean than the cheap pans you probably bought in college. My new favorite pans are the newest line of Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware from Le Creuset.
For this recipe I like using my 7-quart stockpot – overkill, you say? Remember, the Mr. eats this dish like it’s going out of style, so I almost always have to double the recipe from the one you see below. If you are cooking for someone who doesn’t work out for a living and eat like a puma when he gets home, you could absolutely use a large skillet or a 3-quart saucepan to make this.
And guess what? Today is your lucky day! You have the chance to win the same pieces of Le Creuset’s Stainless Steel Cookware that I received – a 3-quart saucepan and lid, a 7-quart stockpot and lid, and a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Just use the widget below to enter to win! Trust me, this is definitely a giveaway you want to win.
Looking for other recipes to make in your new cookware? Try my Gluten-Free Meatball recipe or my Copycat Velveeta Shells and Cheese recipe!
Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
- 1 Ground Beef
- 1 Onion chopped
- 1 Carrot sliced
- 8 Elbow Macaroni uncooked (or other small, shaped pasta)
- 15 Tomato Sauce 1 can
- 2 Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Salt
- 0.75 Oregano
- 0.75 Dried Basil
- 1 Boiling Water
- In a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, onion and carrots. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, breaking up ground beef with a spoon, until beef is browned. Remove from heat and drain fat.
- Return the beef and vegetables to the pan. Add the uncooked pasta, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and herbs. Stir to combine then add just enough water to cover everything, about 1 to 1 ½ cups. Bring to a simmer then cover and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. If your water cooks off before the pasta is done, add extra water ¼ cup at a time until pasta is tender.
- Serve warm. Garnish with fresh herbs or, as I like mine, with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.