I know what you’re thinking… Who wants to make homemade Hamburger Helper? It was my initial thought when scrolling Pinterest, looking for a quick dinner recipe that the kids would eat. I’d eaten plenty of the boxed stuff growing up, and wasn’t particularly keen on eating more. However, as I read the recipe, I realized that A) I had all the ingredients, B) it was a one-pot dish, and C) it’d be ready in 20 minutes. So, without holding my breath, I whipped up a batch and put it on the table. I kid you not, from the first bite, ALL the children were arguing over who would get to use one of our thermoses for the next day’s school lunch. To say this meal was a hit was a wild understatement. Guess it really IS true that everything homemade is better.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups beef broth (low sodium is best)
1 (8 oz) can condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or equal amounts of oregano, parsley, and basil)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
16 oz small pasta shells, or elbow pasta
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pan with a lid, brown the ground beef over medium high heat. Remove cooked ground beef from pan and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons of grease in the pan. Cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic for the last 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for about one minute, then slowly add in the beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour in the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder and pasta, stirring to combine. Cover with lid and sauté for 12 to 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally. Add in the cream and cheese and stir until all the cheese melted. Add back in ground beef, cook for two to three minutes more to re-heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.