Cheesy Hamburger Helper

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Cheesy Hamburger Helper Recipe by Mr. Make It Happen

Mr. Make It Happen | Cheesy Hamburger Helper Recipe – Money Shot
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Do you ever find yourself craving a taste of nostalgia? A dish that takes you back to simpler times, perhaps to childhood dinners around the family table? If so, then you’re in for a treat! Today, we’re diving into the world of Cheesy Hamburger Helper, a beloved classic that has stood the test of time.

The Comfort of Childhood

There’s something undeniably comforting about the familiar orange box of Hamburger Helper sitting on the pantry shelf. For many of us, it brings back memories of our parents whipping up a quick and easy dinner after a long day at work. The sound of sizzling ground beef, the aroma of savory spices, and the creamy, cheesy sauce all coming together in one skillet—it’s a symphony of flavors that never fails to satisfy. But what truly sets Hamburger Helper apart is its versatility. While the classic cheeseburger flavor is always a winner, there are countless variations and ways to customize your meal to suit your tastes. Add some diced onions and bell peppers for extra flavor and texture, or stir in a handful of your favorite shredded cheese for an even cheesier experience. The possibilities are endless. The only thing that could make this better, is making it from scratch! Let’s Make It Happen.

First things first.. let’s talk pasta. Traditionally you can make this with elbow macaroni, but if we are trying to elevate a classic, why not opt for the fancy cousin.. Cavatappi! This is one of my favorite pasta shapes and I try to find different ways to use it when I can, so here we are! For this recipe we are using 85/15 ground beef (feel free to use whatever ground protein you prefer – but if you’re using beef, try to use beef broth as well)

As far as the veggies go for this one, we are using onion and bell pepper. If you need to sneak in an extra serving of veggies for the kids, feel free to add some chopped spinach or whatever else you have in the fridge that you need to use. 

The beauty of this recipe is that there really isn’t a lot of prep work. Dice 1 onion and a bell pepper, grate some cheese, measure your ingredients out and you’re almost done already, lol. Speaking of cheese, you can use whatever you prefer, but I like Colby Jack and Mozzarella for this recipe.

I recommend shredding your own cheese. The store bought pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents like Potato Starch etc which prevent the cheese from clumping together and looking unappealing in the bag (it’s really just a trick to make it look good enough to buy in the grocery store) but it serves no positive purpose in the kitchen when cooking. (It makes cheese a bit more difficult to melt and impacts the consistency a bit).

Next up, I like to add sun-dried tomatoes to this recipe. I realize that is far from traditional, but trust me. The subtle sweetness is a nice addition, along with just enough acidity to balance the fattiness from the beef and cheese – it’s really a great addition to something like this. We are also going to use a bit of dijon mustard to add some “bite”, along with ketchup, tomato paste, and garlic.

Ok, enough running my mouth, it’s time to start cooking. First up, we are frying some thick cut bacon. This is going to serve two purposes for us: first, bacon is delicious and this is basically a cheeseburger helper and every cheeseburger deserves some bacon. Second, we are going to cook our ground beef right in that rendered bacon fat the way the good lord intended, lol.

Once the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it from the skillet and add in your ground beef. Ensure to press it flat into the skillet so that you can develop some nice color and crust. Season this a bit with all purpose or salt and pepper. Once the beef is browned nicely, flip it over and break it up with your spatula. Now it’s time to add in the veggies.

You can deglaze the skillet here with some beef broth. This will ensure we get up the flavor bits of fond from the bottom of the skillet before they burn, and it helps evenly distribute the seasoning (similar concept to adding water when making taco meat). Bring that to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. The liquid will cook off substantially after a minute or two. Now it’s time for the tomato paste and garlic.

We will also add in our brown sugar, ketchup, dijon mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, and season to taste at this point. Go ahead and cook your pasta per package instructions and drain.

Once the pasta is done, add it to your meat mixture and mix to combine. I like to had 3/4 of my cheese to this and give it a good mix. Then top the skillet with the remainder of cheese and pop in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Mr. Make It Happen | Cheesy Hamburger Helper Recipe – Money Shot

Garnish with chopped parsley or chives and serve!

A Budget-Friendly Option

In addition to being quick and easy, Cheesy Hamburger Helper is also incredibly budget-friendly. With just a few dollars, you can feed your whole family a satisfying meal that will leave everyone full and happy. Plus, since it’s made with simple, pantry staples, you can easily stock up and have Hamburger Helper on hand whenever the craving strikes.

Bringing Families Together

There’s something special about sharing a meal with loved ones, and Cheesy Hamburger Helper has a way of bringing families together. Whether you’re cooking with your kids, enjoying a cozy dinner with your partner, or hosting a casual get-together with friends, there’s no denying the joy that comes from sharing a delicious, home-cooked meal.

In Conclusion

So, the next time you’re in the mood for a taste of nostalgia, why not whip up a batch of Cheesy Hamburger Helper? With its comforting flavors, ease of preparation, and budget-friendly appeal, it’s the perfect way to satisfy your cravings and create new memories with the ones you love. After all, sometimes the simplest meals are the most memorable.

Here’s to embracing the nostalgia and savoring every cheesy bite of this beloved classic!


Cheesy Hamburger Helper

By: Mr. Make It Happen
Servings: 6 people
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Do you ever find yourself craving a taste of nostalgia? A dish that takes you back to simpler times, perhaps to childhood dinners around the family table? If so, then you're in for a treat! Today, we're diving into the world of Cheesy Hamburger Helper, a beloved classic that has stood the test of time.

Equipment

  • 1 Mr. Make It Happen Chef Knife or preferred kitchen knife
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • 1 Mr. Make It Happen Skillet or preferred skillet

Ingredients 

Protein

  • 2-3 strips thick cut bacon, optional
  • 1 lb ground beef, 85% lean

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 lb cavatappi or elbow noodles
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 cup colby jack
  • 1/2 tsp beef bouillon

Wet Ingredients

  • 5 cups beef broth, to boil pasta – optional
  • 1 cup beef stock, added to meat mixture
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce

Produce

  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsps chopped sundried tomatoes

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes
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Instructions 

  • For this recipe we are using 85/15 ground beef (feel free to use whatever ground protein you prefer – but if you’re using beef, try to use beef broth as well).
  • Dice 1 onion and a bell pepper, grate some cheese, measure your ingredients out and you’re almost done already.
  • I recommend shredding your own cheese. The store bought pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents like Potato Starch etc which prevent the cheese from clumping together.
  • First up, we are frying some thick cut bacon. Second, we are going to cook our ground beef right in that rendered bacon fat.
  • Once the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it from the skillet and add in your ground beef. Ensure to press it flat into the skillet so that you can develop some nice color and crust.
  • Season this a bit with all purpose or salt and pepper. Once the beef is browned nicely, flip it over and break it up with your spatula. Now it’s time to add in the veggies.
  • You can deglaze the skillet here with some beef broth. (1 cup)
  • You can go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees at this point.
  • Bring that to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. The liquid will cook off substantially after a minute or two. Now it’s time for the tomato paste and garlic.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or chives and serve!
  • We will also add in our brown sugar, ketchup, dijon mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, and season to taste at this point. Go ahead and cook your pasta per package instructions and drain.
  • Once the pasta is done, add it to your meat mixture and mix to combine.
  • I like to had 3/4 of my cheese to this and give it a good mix. Then top the skillet with the remainder of cheese and pop in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Video

Notes

The beauty of this recipe is that there really isn’t a lot of prep work. Dice 1 onion and a bell pepper, grate some cheese, measure your ingredients out and you’re almost done already.
I recommend shredding your own cheese. The store bought pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents like Potato Starch etc which prevent the cheese from clumping together and looking unappealing in the bag (it’s really just a trick to make it look good enough to buy in the grocery store) but it serves no positive purpose in the kitchen when cooking. (It makes cheese a bit more difficult to melt and impacts the consistency a bit)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Additional Info

Course: Beef Recipes, Favorites, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American

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About Matt Price

I’m Matt Price – A self taught “Home Chef”, or “Internet Chef”, lol, from Virginia. I’m super passionate about cooking and sharing recipes and techniques to elevate home cooking. Too many of us have drifted away from the kitchen – and my goal is to change that! Let’s Make It Happen.

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