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
3.4/5 rating (13 votes)

  • 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.

    Comments (1)

    • kathrynL


      13 April 2012 at 18:21 |
      looks yummy


    Leave a comment

    You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.


    Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

    Yes - 31.6%
    Sometimes - 25.4%
    No - 37.4%

    Total votes: 4919
    The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016