If you are anything like me (born in the 80’s) you grew up on processed food such as Ramen Noodles, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Hot Pockets, Mama Celeste Pizza, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, SpaghettiO’s, and Hamburger Helper (like most people our age did.) It was convenient, time efficient, cost-effective, and easy enough that a preteen could make it for themselves or even family (real big sell for some working parents!)
I can happily say, I haven’t eaten this stuff since before I moved out of my parents house in 2003.
Have you ever stopped to look at the ingredients or the nutrition labels?!? If you answered no, allow me to enlighten you…
For starters, there is next to nothing as far as macro or micronutrients. This nutrition label does not even account for the added hamburger or milk required to make it. Secondly, look at those prepackaged ingredients! Call me crazy, but few of those ingredients sound like food to me. They sound like a bunch of chemical compounds masquerading around as food. I surely don’t have Silicon Dioxide in my pantry. Do you?
Highly processed foods often contain:
Preservatives: Chemicals that prevent the food from rotting.
Colorants: Chemicals that are used to give the food a specific color.
Flavor: Chemicals that give the food a particular flavor.
Texturants: Chemicals that give a particular texture.
Keep in mind that processed foods can contain dozens of additional chemicals that aren’t even listed on the label. For example, “artificial flavor” is a proprietary blend. Manufacturers don’t have to disclose exactly what it means and it is usually a combination of chemicals.
When Matt and I started dating I found out of his love for Hamburger Helper and that it was deep-rooted in his childhood, but me being me, I just could not support the idea of his eating this “food” ever again; assuredly not in my presence.
He hasn’t eaten it in the time we have been together….until now!
In a search for a new meal to add to our menu, I came up with the idea of making this cherished childhood memory into a healthier version that I could actually feel good about feeding to my family.
After reading a few hundred recipes on how to make it from scratch, I derived a recipe that is a mash of them all.
And LET. ME. TELL. YOU! Wow!
It really blew me away at how similar it resembled the flavors I remembered. I’m sure just as I did, you can tweak this recipe to suit your needs as well.
Keep in mind that if there is a food you recall from memory that isn’t as healthy as we once believed it to be, there is always a way you can recreate it. This doesn’t mean that it will be identical to your precious processed memory, but I can assure you that it will satisfy the craving you were having.
I hope you all enjoy my version of Hamburger Helper, affectionately named, Hamburger Help-Yo’self!
16 oz. Grass-fed ground beef
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
A pinch of Cayenne Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1 1/2 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 1/2 c. Beef Broth
1 – 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 box uncooked Gluten Free Elbow Pasta
1 c. Shredded Mild Cheddar
1 c. Shredded Sharp Cheddar
(Replace with Daiya Cheeze Shreds to make it totally dairy free!)
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown grass-fed ground beef, drain grease. Add paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, salt and pepper.
2. Stir in the almond milk, beef broth, tomato sauce, and elbow pasta. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
3. Stir in shredded cheese until melted. **Sauce will continue to thicken as it rests.