Cheeseburger Pasta

by Andie Mitchell on June 29, 2010

I may or may not drop everything and dedicate my life to recreating childhood classics. Hamburger Helper? I’ll have seconds, please. Cardboard box with an animated white gloved hand? Yup, that’s the one.

I’d like to question the marketing team behind that Betty Crocker-branded mascot. At what point did the board room decide that a cartoon hand with a face would be the prime representative of my beloved Cheeseburger Macaroni? Maybe around the time I decided to invest my life savings in pogs and cassette tapes. Because those were genius moves.

I don’t know about you, but I have the fondest memories of that gooey pasta piled on my plate. In an effort to relive the six o’clock hour of my childhood, plate piled with gooey pasta, me sitting with my nose just touching the TV screen in the kitchen, the episode of Full House where Stephanie has to say goodbye to Mr. Bear blaring a few decibels too high.

I’d say this homemade version does justice to both Betty Crocker and the Tanner family. Spirals of rotini twirling with gooey sharp cheddar cheese, juicy crumbles of ground beef, and chunks of sweet red tomato. A cheeseburger incognito.

In other news, I’ve started walking to work. It’s about a mile and a half each way which I think is the perfect distance. The one feat? I live on a massive hill. Walking home is a fifteen minute climb on par with Everest I assume. If only I had trained for this, spent a week at base camp getting acclimated. In a few months, I’ll either have unbelievably toned legs or a pocketful of police citations for the profanities I’m bound to utter halfway to the summit. It’s anyone’s guess.

Gasping for air and all, I do enjoy it.  I get my daily exercise in, can listen to audiobooks all the way there and back, and save $5 a day in transportation. Ideal. And when I come home to nostalgic meals like this, the trek uphill is all the more worthwhile. The only thing I’m missing is DJ and the gang.

Cheeseburger Pasta (adapted from Taste of Home)

  • 8 0z uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1.5 teaspoon steak seasoning- I used McCormick brand
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped green onions, optional

Boil pasta, drain, and set aside.

Add the ground beef to a large pan set over medium heat, breaking it up with a fork as it begins to brown.

After 1 minute of cooking the beef, add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic.

Stir in the steak seasoning and salt.

Add the diced tomatoes, Dijon mustard, and ketchup.

Stir to combine. Let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend and the beef can cook through.

Stir in the pasta.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Mix well and serve immediately.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica June 29, 2010 at 4:43 am

This puts the boxed version to shame! All of those childhood references are awesome. Pogs…oh my gosh! I forgot those existed!


Nicole June 29, 2010 at 6:07 am

That looks SO good!!


Shanna, like Banana June 29, 2010 at 6:28 am

This looks tasty! I make a similar dish that I call Mexi Pasta and it’s scrumptious. Usually I use chicken sausage but next time I’ll try ground turkey. Yay :)


Anna June 29, 2010 at 6:35 am

Oh my gosh, I used to LOVE hamgurger helper meals when I was little. I would seriously beg my mom to buy it.


Amy @ Second City Randomness June 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

ha ha… I actually saw the title and instantly thought – Oh! I loved that stuff that hamburger helper made! But I wasn’t going to say it because your version looks divine and to compare it would just be insulting…

But then you mentioned it. SO it’s ok… :) My mom never used hamburger helper until my brother and I were a little older, but it was an instant win for us! mmm…


Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life June 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

Hamburger helper used to rock my world. I love this much healthier version. Now all I need to do is break out my Full House DVD’s to watch while eating it!


Katie @ Health for the Whole Self June 29, 2010 at 7:49 am

Looks delicious! Any suggestions for a substitute for the steak seasoning?


Can You Stay for Dinner June 29, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hey Katie! I’d try just using 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper!


Kelly June 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

Yum, I love mixing ground beef with mac and cheese, but I think I may have to try this recipe too!


homecookedem June 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

I used to love Hamburger Helper as a kid and oddly enough hadn’t thought of it in years till I first got pregnant and all of a sudden wanted it. Thankfully I didn’t give in to the urge, but this recipe sounds wonderful!!


Tina June 29, 2010 at 9:01 am

That looks positively amazing! I love that this recipe is the first one I come across now that I am back to being able to read blogs. I actually saw some Hamburger Helper at the store the other day and thought (in my weird preggo head) it sounded amazing but didn’t want to buy it bec I knew there were other options that would be better to eat. Now I have an option. Thanks!

PS – I missed reading your blog and am so happy to be back. :)


Can You Stay for Dinner June 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

Thanks, Tina! That really just made my day!


Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) June 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

this sounds delicious- hamburger helper was definitely one of those things i lOVED growing up. good idea :)



Cindy June 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

Oh, after last night’s raw mushroom alfredo, my guys would LOVE a comforting meal like this!

woo hoo. and think of the salt you are omitting by making it yourself.

My guys are still gushing over the australian meat pies too! YOU are so inspiring!!!! I hope you know.


malpaz June 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

haha so its like healthy hamburger helper!!! i wish someone woudl come up with a mock kraft cheese sauce recipe


cozydelicious June 29, 2010 at 9:58 am

This looks awesome! My favorite kind of comfort food.. cheesy and rich. Perfect! I hate hamburger helper – it just has a funny taste to me – but my husband grew up on the stuff and adores it. This will be a fantastic compromise!


Brittany June 29, 2010 at 9:58 am

I so love Hamburger Helper! It’s totally my weakness! I bet yours is a whole lot yummier though!

I laughed out loud when you mentioned pogs!! I forgot all about those!


lisaou11 June 29, 2010 at 10:18 am

ummm yum! the boy might even eat this :)


Leah @ Why Deprive? June 29, 2010 at 11:03 am

Seattle has some CRAZY hills!! I live on a hil now, and it has done amazing things for my butt! :) You wont regret the decision to walk.

I never liked Hamburger Helper. Probably because the only time we ever ate it was when my mom was at work and my dad had to cook dinner. He probably didnt even make it right. This however, sounds amazing. Anything with cheese is a winner in my books.


Kelly June 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Looks so good…Keith is looking over my shoulder right now drooling like a 5 year old! ha!


actorsdiet June 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

this is one of those dishes i’ve never had, but i already know i’d love!


lequan@luvtoeat June 30, 2010 at 12:05 am

This is one of those healthy, yet delicious dishes I’d love to make for my kiddies. I have a weakness for ooey gooey cheesy dishes. Yummers!


Danielle October 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I just made this for dinner and we loved it! Thanks for the great recipe :)


Can You Stay for Dinner October 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Yay! I love how closely it resembles Hamburger Helper (is this a good thing? :) ) Thanks for trying it and for telling me how it was!!


Abby March 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Yum! Just what I need for my menu plan this week!


Abby March 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Just wondering, in your pics was the bit of green on top the green onion or something else? Fresh parsley?


Can You Stay for Dinner March 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Fresh parsley!


Abby March 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I made this and loved it!! My husband and I thought it was WAY better than Hamburger Helper! A very good thing too becuase he doesn’t acutally like Hamburger Helper! I will be posting this to my blog later this week and linking to you!


Can You Stay for Dinner March 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Hi Abby! Thank you so much! I’m incredibly happy to hear it :)


Lomi Lomi October 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the market chief and a good section of other folks will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.


Leslie February 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I’ve made this tons of times and i love it! However, this recipe doesn’t show up under the recipe tab though… I’m worried that Im missing other great recipes.


Steph May 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Not sure if you know this, but the restaurant that just blew up the internetz with their “Kitchen Nightmares” and Facebook rants (Amy’s Baking Company) is using one of your photos and passing it off as their own…


WJ May 16, 2013 at 12:53 am

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