Thursday, January 4, 2024

Make Your Own Hamburger Helper

You wouldn’t think it would be necessary for someone in my situation to make meals in a hurry.  For me it’s a waste of time to spend hours making meals. Not that I don’t have time but food has become a necessity more than an experience. Recently I watched the Tic Tok of someone named "The Organizer Man”. He helped me out by coming up with an idea. For a year I could not remove the bowl from my kitchen aid mixer. I tried anything I could find on the internet to solve the problem. Washing it was an ordeal, but I love the mixer so I had to make it work. Since this contributor was addressing how to adjust the height of the beater, I asked if he had any ideas on how to remove a stuck bowl. He said his sticks too but he whacks the handle until it loosens. Mine didn’t have a handle to whack so I told him that. He wasn’t sure but said to wrap a piece of electrical tape around the bowl and pull. I used duct tape instead. I made a little loop at the end and put the handle of a mallet through the loop for leverage. In less than two seconds the bowl released. I have since bought a mixing bowl with a handle in case it happens again, but it was a simple idea that I would not have thought of. 

Since I was sucked into Tik Tok by that time, I watched a few more of his videos. He likes to make dry mixes like ranch dressing, creamed soup mix and the one I made.  It’s a Hamburger Helper mix. I am not sure I ever made Hamburger Helper. Maybe I tried it back in the 1970’s because it was cheap so I really can’t say if this recipe is as good as the box mix but this fellow says it is better. I looked up the product and found the ingredients. I am not sure what flavor it was because there are many but it is very high in sodium, and it has ingredients not included in the homemade recipe.

"Enriched Pasta (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Corn Starch, Salt, Wheat Flour. Contains 2% or less of: Modified Whey, Onion Powder, Color (caramel color, annatto extract), Maltodextrin, Potassium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy, and Wheat Protein, Yeast Extract, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Vegetable Oil (canola, soybean, and/or sunflower oil), Spice, Monoglycerides, Sugar, Safflower Oil, Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent). "

Here is the recipe. It is all real food. There is no oil, citric acid, whey protein or dyes. If you want to add cheese, just use “real” cheese. I don’t like things salty so I used scant teaspoons of salt and garlic. 

Hamburger Helper

1 1/2 cups mini lasagna noodles or egg noodles 
2 t. paprika
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder 
1 t. salt
1 t. cornstarch

Save in jar. When ready to prepare just add to

1 lb. browned ground beef
1 cup water
2 cups milk 

Boil and simmer until noodles are done. Don’t overcook the noodles. Add more liquid if necessary.
About 10-12 minutes.

You can add sour cream and mushrooms to make it taste more like stroganoff.

You can add peas or any veggie you choose.

The dry ingredients are put in a jar one ingredient at a time.  I made a label with how to finish making it.

When the jars were filled and labeled, I used a mason jar sealer. It pulls the air out of the jar and seals the lid. This way the mix will last for months on a shelf just like a box of Hamburger Helper. It will probably last even longer.

The prepared product doesn’t look very appetizing, but it tastes pretty good. Adding other ingredients like peas or mushrooms modifies the flavors and adds more bulk. This is a terrible recipe for those who won’t mix their food, but for me it’s great. This recipe isn’t huge. Some recipes I have to eat for five days or freeze it. This will only last three or four. It is really hard to cook small quantities. 

I make herbed rice mix, vegetable bouillon and dry cream soup mix which I also put in sealed jars. It is so convenient when you don’t know what to make for dinner. I have blogged about how I always have browned ground beef in the freezer. I buy big packages and brown it all at one time.  I have blogged different techniques but this is my favorite and easiest. 

When looking up the ingredients for Hamburger Helper, I noticed many different varieties. They have a taco flavor that I may try to duplicate. At least it will be more colorful. Stay tuned.