Easy Hamburger Helper

We all know and love the infamous box of hamburger helper that you can easily pick up at any grocery store. Now, Before that box was introduced back in the 70’s or so, people made the real version of hamburger helper. It is so easy to make and it is so delicious.

Now, this recipe comes from my grandmothers recipe book. She had quite a few recipes that she would make on a regular basis and this was one of them. You will be amazed at how easy and simple this is to make and how good it is. This really brings me back and gives me retro vibes. I am sure that this recipe or similar recipes has graced the table so many times before that box stuff was made. Even after that infamous box hit the stores she still preferred to make it.

Easy hamburger helper

So let’s get started.

1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
2 c. water
2 c. beef broth
1 c. elbow macaroni noodles
1/4 onion – finely chopped
1 tsp ( 3 cloves) garlic – minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup tomato paste ( I use tomato puree)
salt and pepper
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese ( or more or less to taste)


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until completely cooked through. Drain off any excess grease and place the meat back into the skillet.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Do not add the cheese yet.
  3. Bring the mixture to boil and turn heat down to medium low and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the noodles are tender with a slight bite to the center. The noodles should not be smushy at all.
  4. When ready, Add the cheese to the mixture and stir well to combine. Adjust the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Remove from heat and add more cheese on top if you would like for extra cheesy-ness.

  • you can add herbs such as parsley, thyme, basil and rosemary to this if you want a herby flavor. I do this on occasion.
  • You can leave out the cheese if you prefer. I love adding the cheese because I find it gives it a better flavor, however, it is really good without it.
  • If the tomato is to pungent for you add in 1 tsp of sugar to the pan with the remaining ingredients. This will help tone down the acidity of the tomato.
  • You can double this recipe very easily if you have a bigger family.

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