Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper. Swapping the boxed stuff out and making everyone’s childhood dinner completely homemade, and healthier too. Plus so much tastier! Think of this hamburger helper as the tastier, creamier version of what you’d eat as a kid. It’s made with ground beef, seasonings, pasta, and a little shredded zucchini too (for added veggies). Comfort food at its best, this recipe is sure to become a family favorite.
I didn’t grow up eating hamburger helper, neither did my brothers. But for whatever reason, this has been a recipe I wanted to try and recreate for a while now. Ever since my older brother mentioned the idea to me a year or so ago it’s been on my “to make” list.
Not going to lie, it’s obviously not my usual kind of recipe, as I tend to sway towards recipes with a bit more color. But something about recreating this in a healthier, tastier, way really excited me.
So while it may have taken me over a year to finally test this out and share, the day is here. And I’m excited because this really is that perfect early fall, September dinner.
So as I said, my brother had mentioned creating a recipe for homemade (not boxed) hamburger helper. He said that if I could make it like the boxed stuff, but with a creamier texture, and a little more depth of flavor, that it would be, “SO GOOD”.
I wasn’t excited at first, but then I started to think about the upgrades I could make. I wondered, “could I make it healthier, but still creamy? Could we add a little flavor, but still keep it classic? And could I make it all in one pot just like the box?”.
All of the challenges started to excite me, so I figured if I could get each one checked off, then I would have a great recipe!
This is a one pot dinner, so the details are simple
First of all, find yourself a nice big pot or braiser to cook this in. I love this one and think it’s the perfect size for this recipe.
Now, starting cooking! Simply add the beef and onion to your pot and brown it all over, add in some spices, and then the pasta. And next? The ingredient that adds a little health to the recipe…a bit of shredded zucchini.
I love adding shredded zucchini to pasta dishes like this. Not only does the zucchini incorporate a vegetable into the recipe, but it also adds moisture and creates an even creamier sauce.
Finish it up
Once the pasta and zucchini are both added, pour over the broth and milk. Add a squeeze of ketchup (sounds weird, but trust me), then cook everything together until that pasta is al dente.
It’s important to stir the pasta frequently to ensure that nothing is sticking. But other than that, everything is EASY.
The final step is to stir in a handful of cheddar cheese. Serve up the hamburger helper topped with fresh parsley (it needs a little color!) and enjoy!
As I always like to say – homemade is best!
Excited to have this recipe in my back pocket for cozy fall and winter dinners to come. And Creighton’s verdict? He loved every bite. He said, “how could someone not love this? It’s basically mac and cheese with meat…and it’s delicious”.
So there ya go! He doesn’t lie.
Looking for other easy family dinners? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make this Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper
Calories Per Serving: 421 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 1 zucchini, grated (about 1 cup grated)
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk (use what you drink)
- 1 1/2-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- fresh parsley, for serving
- 1. In a large pot set over medium hight heat, add the olive oil, onion and beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder, cook another minute.2. Add the pasta and zucchini and toss to coat, then pour in the broth and milk. Add the ketchup and stir to combine. Season with salt. 3. Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Simmer 5-8 minutes until the pasta is al dente, stirring often. 4. Stir in the cheese and cook another few minutes until very creamy. 5. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with fresh parsley. Enjoy!