Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells

If someone had told me that my 504th posting would have been how to make a Hamburger Helper Style meal without a box, I would have laughed. No way – I would have something sensational, something so awe-inspiring, it will knock your socks off. Yet, here it is. I will admit, I stressed about reaching over 500 posting – and then I realized it is just a number. The point of my little blog isn’t about numbers, it’s about enjoying my life, my family, and puttering about in my cozy kitchen. Simple pleasures and the sound of my guys laughing together – that’s what matters.

italian-shellsThis is now my eighth “installment” of Hamburger Helper meals without using an actual box of “Hamburger Helper”. Yep, the easy, busy mom’s best friend, only without all the stuff no one wants to eat in the first place. Have you ever read a box of Hamburger Helper ingredients? Half of the ingredients are words I cannot even begin to pronounce – but have no fear – all those yellow and red dyes and words that seem to be a bunch of letters strung together have all been deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA – so no worries. Right? What’s that – you aren’t impressed? Neither am I.  Especially when you consider how absolutely easy it is to skip the box and still have all the convenience of a quick, easy weeknight meal. Add a fresh salad, some warm bread and tall glasses of ice-cold milk – what more do you need? Oh, and just like the boxed variety – one pan will do the trick. Unlike the box variety – this dish has chunks of tomatoes you can actually see.

I adore suppers that only need a tossed salad and warm bread for the finishing touches – especially the bread part. Bread has to be my greatest weakness. I could easily sit down with a loaf of fresh-baked bread and sweet butter and call it a day. Happy, content. Okay, maybe a glass or two of a full-bodied red wine to go with the bread. Yeah, bread and wine – reminds me of a prior life – before Hubby. Sitting ’round a campfire on a beach in San Francisco, dining on warm, fresh-baked San Francisco Sourdough slathered in butter and drinking cheap wine from a Bota bag. And cheese. Yeah, bread, wine and cheese . . . oh, but I digress. We’re here to talk about Hamburger Helper-Style suppers.

Hamburger Helper Style Cheesy Italian Shells
Italian Shells:
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (Ground Turkey is fine, too)

1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 ¼ Cups HOT water
½ Cup Milk
1 Can (14 oz) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
2 Cups Medium Shell Pasta
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic together. Drain well.

Add water, milk, tomatoes and pasta. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package (everything else but the cheese). Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.

Stir in the Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

That’s it – dinner is served.

hamburger-helper-italian-pasta-shells-1


What’s that? You missed the other seven posting? No need to worry –  All delicious, all one-skillet, all family friendly.

Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna

Hamburg Helper Style Cheesy Jambalaya

Helper Style Cheesy Taco

Hamburger Helper Style Stroganoff

Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak

Hamburger Helper Style Cheeseburger Macaroni

Hamburger Helper Style Cheeseburger Macaroni

Here we go again – my 7th installment of Hamburger Helper Style one-skillet dinners. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Hamburger Helper. I am surprised, considering when Hamburger Helper first hit the market place, that it wasn’t marketed with a subtitle of “Mother’s Little Helper”. Then again, the Rolling Stones were singing about “Mother’s Little Helper” in reference to Valium – so maybe they wanted to avoid any confusion between the two. Just kidding – a little.

Continue reading “Hamburger Helper Style Cheeseburger Macaroni”

Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak

I can always tell when we are getting into the busy season in the Event business . . . shortcut meals start hitting the dinner table in record numbers. Oh but it is better to make a quick meal at home than to let my guys wiz through the nearest fast-food joint and bring home a bag of whatever. What is this now? Oh yes –  installment six. We’re getting quite the collection of Hamburger Helper style suppers.

Continue reading “Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak”

Hamburger Helper Style Stroganoff without the Box

Here we are, installment five of the Hamburger Helper series. Just remember, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck; it’s not necessarily a duck. How many of you remember the popular “Hamburger Helper” first introduced to the American Consumer in the early 1970s? The timing of this “convenient” form of cooking wasn’t by chance. It was a result of a corporation seizing the moment. On the heals of the Civil Rights Movement; the Woman’s Movement began to build momentum as women left the kitchen and joined the work force seeking more than jobs, they wanted careers and to be viewed as equals.

Continue reading “Hamburger Helper Style Stroganoff without the Box”

Busy Cook’s Hamburger Helper Style Cheesy Taco

Yep, it’s time for another installment of “Hamburger Helper without that box of  stuff”. Thus far, this is the best one yet.

I remember fondly the first time I made this dish for my family. I first started by gathering all the ingredients and lining them up to have at the ready. Kiddo wandered into the kitchen to see what he could do to help. He took one look at the table – rice, chips, cheese and a lineup of seasonings – and gave me a funny look.

“What on earth are you making?”

“Hamburger Helper.”

“Again?”

I frowned and promptly put him in charge of browning the meat while I mixed up a bowl of seasonings.

This dish cooks up is like a giant one-skillet taco  – the Frito Chips give it that corn tortilla “crunch” – with meat, rice and tons of zippy flavor. While the original recipe did not call for Taco Seasoning, when the tasted the “broth” (before thickening) I knew it needed something to bring out that whole taco flavoring thing. The original recipe called for 1 cup of chips. After a quick stir, the chips all but vanished into the dish. That simply would not do, so I tossed in a second cup. Yeah, that was the ticket – a little “crunch” in every bite. It was ready for the final test – my fellows. When dinner was served, I heard a lot of wows – this is good and yummy eating sounds from my guys. They went back for seconds, polishing off what was left in the pan.

Hamburger Helper Cheesy Taco
Ingredients – Seasoning Package
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt (optional)
¼ Teaspoon Sugar (optional)
½ Teaspoon Paprika

In a small bowl, mix together Seasoning Pack. Set aside until ready to use.

Ingredients – Hamburg Helper
1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
2 ¼ Cups HOT water
½ Cup Milk
1 Cup Converted Rice
1 Can (15 oz) Stewed or Diced Mexican Style Tomatoes, drained
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well and return to pan.
Add water, milk and rice. Bring to a boil.

Stir in seasoning package and Mexican Tomatoes. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid as evaporated and the rice is tender.

Stir in 1 cup of cheese, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Ingredients – Final Toppings
1/2 Cup Cheese
2 Cups Frito Corn Chips
Chopped Jalapeno Peppers (Nacho Style), Optional

Remove from heat, uncover, sprinkle with ½ cup Cheddar cheese and 2 cups Frito Corn Chips. Allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

Give everything one final stir, serve with Jalapeno Peppers for added heat as desired.

Now stand back and watch it disappear!

 

 

Hamburg Helper Style Cheesy Jambalaya

Well folks, it’s been a while since we’ve made a Hamburger Helper Style supper – not since April have I shared a Hamburger Helper Style meal. Think of this as installment number three in the Hamburger Helper Style renditions

I know my family loves the whole Hamburger Helper concept, I like the fact that I know what is going into the pot so to speak. All around it’s a win-win for everyone. Rarely do I need to make a special trip to the market since most if not all the ingredients are things I have on-hand anyway. Who doesn’t have a few pounds of ground beef in the freezer at any given time – and the spices are your usual in-the-pantry items.

Don’t forget; putting together the dry ingredients; the seasoning package and instructions in a nice little gift bag or pretty little box makes for a great gift for new moms, college students or care givers – it shows a personal touch. You could even box up a few meals up to keep in your pantry for those “I’m too bushed to even think about cooking” night. We’re talking brown, simmer, eat. What can be easier?

Hamburger Helper Style Cheesy Jambalaya
Ingredients – Cheesy Jambalaya
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (or Turkey)
¾ Cup HOT water
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Converted Rice
1 Cup Stewed or Diced Tomatoes, plain
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well.

Add tomatoes, water, milk and rice. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and rice is tender.

Stir in 1 cup of cheese, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

Ingredients – Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot or other tasteless thickening agent
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Basil
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Sugar (optional)
½ Teaspoon Paprika

In a small bowl or sandwich bag, mix all the ingredients to make a seasoning package. Blend well and set aside until ready to use.


Other Hamburger Helper Style Favorites for your consideration:

Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna

 

 

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna

As Hubby went through our shopping list, checking off things we didn’t need to buy, and making notes as to what was on sale, he saw a notation referring to Hamburger Helper Lasagna. Hubby pointed out that Hamburger Helper wasn’t on the list. I had to chuckle. We haven’t “bought” a box of Hamburger Helper in years – making our Hamburger Helper Style Suppers from “scratch”. You would have thought he might have noticed over the years. All Hubby knows is that I putter in the kitchen for about 30 minutes, then I call him to the table when it’s time to eat. For all he knows, I had already placed the empty boxes of Hamburger Helper in the recycle bin. Silly man.

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna another installment of my Hamburger Helper Style Meals. So quick, so convenient and always a hit with my guys. Like Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni, this makes a great gift – be it for a new mom, your college dorm gang or a busy care-giver. Simply put the pastas into a large bag or jar, and the seasoning package into a small sandwich bag. Tuck the seasoning package into the large bag or jar of pasta along with the instructions and a personal note. These store well in the pantry, only requiring the “fresh” ingredients to be added when cooked and there you have it – a one skillet supper. You could even include the can of tomatoes for this one if you like.

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna
Ingredients – Seasoning Package
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Sugar (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning package.

Set aside until ready to use.

Ingredients – Skillet Lasagna
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 ¼ Cups HOT water
½ Cup Milk
1 Cup Stewed or diced Canned Tomatoes, Italian style
1 ½ Cups Small Egg Noodles
¾ Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic together. Drain well.

While meat is browning, mix together Seasoning Package (Recipe Below).

Add water, milk, tomatoes and pasta. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.

Stir in the Mozzarella cheese, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Remove from heat, uncover, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

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Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni

Some call it comfort food; others convenient; while others simply have that warm nostalgic feeling whenever they think of Hamburger Helper – the meal in a box from the early ’70s.  The problem with Hamburger Helper is that its packed with artificial “stuff”. No one wants to feed their family “stuff”. Still, the convenience of it all – some milk and ground meat was all you needed to add to the stuff in the box.  With this recipe, you can have that same convenience, minus the box and the “stuff” inside.

Continue reading “Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni”

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