This homemade Hamburger Helper is a one-pot casserole made with ground meat, macaroni and cheese. It’s healthier than the boxed version and quick and easy to make!
Serve this pasta with Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread and a simple salad for a great dinner your whole family will love.
Easy pasta dinners you can make in one skillet are the best for busy, hectic or stressful days. This homemade Hamburger Helper is my version of the popular boxed pasta meal. I haven’t bought one in years, because making it from scratch is so much better. You only need a few ingredients that most likely are already in your pantry. I hope you love it!
- ground meat (beef or turkey)
- olive oil
- yellow onion
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- tomato sauce
- elbow macaroni
- water, chicken or beef stock
- cheddar cheese
- sour cream, optional
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, in a deep skillet.
- Add ground meat and cook until done.
- Add seasoning and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Add macaroni.
- Add liquids and bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer until pasta is cooked.
- Stir in cheese and sour cream if desired.
Storing and freezing:
You can make this casserole, cool it completely, place in an aluminum pan, wrap in saran wrap and place in a Ziploc bag to freeze for up to 3 months.
You can make it up to 3 days in advance. Any leftovers should be refrigerated.
- vegetarian: add 2 cups of beans or lentils to sauteed onion and follow the steps in the recipe.
- stroganoff: add 6 oz of mushrooms to sauteed onion, then the meat and use 1 cup of half and half with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in place of tomato sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and sour cream.
- cheeseburger: add chopped pickles and double the cheese.
- veggie-packed: add shredded carrots, beans, mushrooms, even broccoli
More easy casserole dinners:
For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Dinner Category.
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This homemade Hamburger Helper is a one-pot casserole made with ground meat, macaroni and cheese. It's healthier than the boxed version and quick and easy to make!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 3 cups water or stock See note
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream optional
In a deep skillet, heat up olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
Add meat and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook until no longer pink.
Add salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Stir in. Add tomato sauce and stir in.
Add macaroni and water (or stock) and stir in. Make sure there is no cooked on bits at the bottom of the pan, to preven the dish from burning. If there are, simply scrape it with a wooden spoon. The liquid should help with that.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer the dish, covered, for 13 to 15 minutes. Stir it every 5 minutes or so.
Stir in cheese and sour cream if desired.
- You can use water, beef stock or chicken stock OR a mix of both.
- You can skip the meat and use 2 cups of beans or lentils.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.