The best hamburger helper recipe is homemade hamburger helper. If you make it yourself at home, you never have to wonder about the nutritional content. Ground turkey lightens up this version, but the recipe makes it easy to customize to your tastes.
Hamburger helper reminds me of babysitting when I was a teenager. It’s the standard meal that parents leave for you to feed their kids when they go out. Its a crowd pleaser, even for small children, and easy enough for a teenager to prepare.
It’s also delicious. It’s one of my secret, nostalgic, favorite foods, but as I got older, I’ve started to become increasingly concerned with things like trans fats, hidden sugars and organic ingredients.
How adult of me.
Well who knew it was just as easy to prepare hamburger helper from scratch without the pre-packaged box of ingredients? That’s right, DIY homemade hamburger helper makes it easy to know exactly what you’re eating.
Recently I posted a poll on Facebook about what to do with ground turkey. I mentioned that I thought ground turkey was one of the most boring ingredients out there. It seems that my Facebook fans disagreed, and came back with all kinds of awesome recipe suggestions on how to use ground turkey.
Whoa! Who knew people had such strong feelings about ground turkey?
I stand corrected folks.
I guess I have no choice but to listen to the masses and use some ground turkey in this lightened up version of hamburger helper. (Turkeyburger helper?)
This is a classic Betsylife recipe in that it was born out of the randomness that was on hand in my freezer and pantry.
Ground turkey, a box of Banza chickpea pasta, some leftover Mexican cheese blend, one pan…….voila!
Dinner is served.
Good enough for a small child or a hungry Hubs, and ready in under 30 minutes. Plus, it tasted nearly identical to the classic boxed version.
The best part is that I know all the ingredients that are going into this. There’s no shelf stabilizing, chemically, preservative stuff snuck in there. There’s no hidden sugars. It’s just meat, (real) milk, (real) cheese, spices and chickpea pasta.
No doubt this will roll into our regular dinner rotation moving forward. I love being able to enjoy a childhood favorite made in a way that makes me feel good as an adult.
If you decide to give this recipe a try make sure to post a pic and tag me @betsylife on Facebook or Instagram! I love seeing your creations and sharing it with my fans.
**This post was updated with new photos 10.01.18
Homemade Healthier “Hamburger Helper”
The best hamburger helper recipe is homemade hamburger helper. If you make it yourself at home, you never have to wonder about the nutritional content.
- 1-1/4 lb lean ground turkey
- 2 T olive oil
- 8 oz package Banza chickpea pasta
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon while it cooks. Season with salt and pepper.
Add dry pasta to browned meat.
Whisk together hot water with cornstarch. Add to skillet with meat and pasta.
Whisk together milk and spices. Add to skillet with meat and pasta. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to low and simmer. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.
More easy pasta recipes
One Pot Vegetable Pasta Primavera
Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Edamame
Healthy Kale and Poached Egg Pasta
oh no! the recipe isnt showing up for me and this is one of my families favorites! can you please email it or repost it? thanks!
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Note to self: cook pasta separately next time and omit the water. I was so excited for my husband and I’s dinner–looked great, just like boxed hamburger helper. It tasted like water. =\ I was shocked that I couldn’t taste the cheese or spices!
Tasted like water for me too 🙁
Made this tonight and loved it. I added some chopped bell pepper and zucchini because they were on sale and, you know, vegetables. Added spices to taste because we like things extra spicy! I loved that the recipe didn’t call for tomatoes (they give my husband heartburn) or onions (he just doesn’t like the texture of onions). Will put this one into regular rotation.
So glad you enjoyed it!