Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Hamburger Helper used to be a staple in my pantry. It was the "go-to" meal when everyone was going different directions but we still sat down to a meal at the table. We had several flavors that we usually ate, but spaghetti became my favorite one. When they quit selling it in Ventura, CA and I would come home to visit my parents in AR, I would buy four or five boxes and remove the contents (the spaghetti and the packet of sauce) from the boxes to pack in my suitcase. The box took up a lot of room and had a lot of empty space.

Anyway when I saw Kathleen's (from picture of her One Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac a friend posted on Facebook, I printed the recipe. I made it (with a few of my personal changes - I don't like too much "heat") and we really liked it. It actually tasted better than I ever remember Hamburger Helper tasting. The good news is it makes a big 12 - inch skillet full and we no longer have the boys home to help us eat  we will get to enjoy it several more times. 


1        tablespoon oil
1        medium onion chopped (I used 1 tablespoon minced onion - onions don't agree with me)
1        tablespoon chili powder
1        tablespoon cumin (I omitted)
4       large cloves of garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
1        tablespoon packed brown sugar
1        lb lean ground beef
2       cups water
1        15 - oz can tomato sauce (I used two 8 - oz cans)
8       ounces (2 cups) elbow macaroni
8       ounces (2 cups) shredded Mexican Cheese Blend (I used Colby Jack because that is what I had on hand)

Using a 12 - inch skillet that has a cover, cook the onion, chili powder, and cumin in the oil over medium heat until onion is soft, stirring often so spices don't burn, about 5 - 7 minutes. (I stirred constantly because there wasn't much oil.) 

Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook, continuing to stir, so garlic doesn't burn for about 30 seconds.

Add the ground beef breaking it up with a spoon (wooden) and stirring while it cooks.

 Add the water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine.

Stir in the pasta 

and cover, increasing the temperature to bring it to a boil.

Stir it occasionally while it cooks, reducing temperature as necessary to keep it a rapid simmer for 9 - 12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Add 1 cup of the cheese and stir it in til totally combined.

Sprinkle the remaining cup on top 



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