Homemade hamburger helper, anyone? If you’re a child of the eighties, then you may nostalgically remember “that” famous out-of-the-box hamburger-pasta dinner (and commercials featuring a white talking oven mitt…). I digress. From my very foggy memories of this era, I remember this being a deeply satisfying dinner. I’m not making any health claims, but it was tasty.
Well folks, times have changed, and it’s pretty rare for me to hit-up the boxed, pre-packaged aisle for meal time. I sort of stumbled into this dish one evening…I wanted to make something easy and comforting and something that the kiddies wouldn’t gripe about. And I needed to use up some ground meat. I wanted to create a creamy sauce that would coat the pasta, but didn’t want to use cream. Using milk and flour works super well, and when combined with the tomato paste and grated cheese it’s just right. Hearty, satisfying, but not overly rich at all.
Homemade Hamburger Helper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1.5 lbs extra lean ground meat
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 156 ml tomato paste (a little more than 1/2 a cup - 1 small can of Pastene tomato paste)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup cheddar cheese medium or strong - grated
- 2 cups frozen peas
- cooked penne rigate pasta (one 375g box of Catelli Smart)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped flat parsley
- In a large stove-top skillet, add oil and saute ground meat until browned - about 5 minutes.
- In a mason jar, combine milk and flour and shake (shake, shake).
- Back to the skillet - stir in tomato paste, milk mixture, garlic, oregano, salt, shredded cheese. Bring to gentle simmer.
- Meanwhile, cook penne in salted boiling water until tender - about 10-12 minutes.
- When the pasta is nearly done, stir the frozen peas into the skillet.
- Once the pasta is tender, drain and carefully add to ground beef mixture, folding in until the pasta is well-coated.
- Serve with grated cheddar and freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!