SchoolFamily Recipes Food Allergies Peanut-free Healthier Hamburger Helper

Healthier Hamburger Helper

Hamburger Helper may get a bad rap when it comes to good nutrition for families, but this classic boxed dinner can indeed be tweaked to be good for you. Check out our made-from-scratch version … it’s loaded with light and lean ingredients and a few nutritious kid-friendly veggies too!  SPECIAL OFFER: SchoolFamily.com readers can purchase No Whine With Dinner at 30 percent off the list price, and get  free shipping, by ordering the book here and using this promo code: FS2011.

Healthier Hamburger Helper
3.5/5 rating (6 votes)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (93 or 95 percent lean)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk, divided
  • 10-ounce box chopped frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 12-once bag dried whole grain, wide egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  2. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the meat, Italian seasoning, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and cook, breaking up the large pieces until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, 3/4 cup of the milk, and the spinach, cover, and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 9 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk until well combined.  Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pasta. Maintain at a low boil and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  6. Top individual servings with additional Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and chopped basil as desired.

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