Cheeseburger Macaroni is a creamy, flavorful copycat recipe of Homemade Hamburger Helper that's all-natural and made from scratch!
Not even gonna lie...Hamburger Helper was one of my favorite dinners growing up. And if you had asked me my favorite flavor of Hamburger Helper back then, I would have had a hard time deciding between Lasagna and Cheeseburger Macaroni. I mean, what's not to love about beef and sauce and noodles? Simple, tasty, and a winner every time.
Unfortunately, when I had children of my own and felt the inexplicable pull to embark upon this whole 'real food kick,' boxed/processed dinners (like my beloved Hamburger Helper) went by the wayside. And I totally missed 'em!
But one glorious day I realized that I could make a "Homemade Hamburger Helper" all-natural version of Cheeseburger Macaroni (that seriously tastes even better) with not much more effort than what came out of the smiley-faced, hand-bedecked box (which now seems a bit creepy, but maybe that's just me). So would you like to join in on the deliciousness? Read on!
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
This homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni starts just like the good ol' boxed dinner upon which it's modeled.
- Brown the ground beef.
- Add a few seasonings.
- Pour in some liquid.
- And stir in the pasta!
Better than the Original
However, there are a few crucial additions to boost flavor even more.
- First off, I like to add a can of diced tomatoes to the mix.
- Then, instead of water, my macaroni has the pleasure of simmering away in beef broth.
- But the biggest change would be the homemade cheese sauce in lieu of powdered cheese questionableness.
Now granted, making your own cheese sauce does dirty up an additional pot. But it is so worth it.
You can whip up the cheese sauce while the noodles are boiling and then, once all of the broth has been absorbed, you simply fold the cheesy goodness into the beef and noodle mixture.
The result is a Cheeseburger Macaroni that's beyond creamy and cheesy. Quite frankly, it puts boxed Hamburger Helper to shame. And BONUS...no icky ingredients!
I'm not the only one who loves this stuff. Everyone in the family enjoyed it when I made it the other night (with the exception of the 2-year-old, who currently refuses to eat any dinner not constituted of pizza or sausage, so don't mind her)... and my eats-like-a-bird middle child actually gobbled down two platefuls. I'm with you, little buddy...this recipe is worth a second helping.
Please...promise you'll make this soon and don't be intimidated about the homemade cheese sauce. It's really easy to make and it's the secret to putting this Cheeseburger Macaroni over the top!
So what is/was your favorite variety of Hamburger Helper? In case you're a fellow aficionado, be sure to scroll down just below the recipe where I've linked to a few other copycat flavors... 😉
More Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipes
- "Rice Oriental" Hamburger Helper
- "Beef Taco" Hamburger Helper
- "Cheesy Enchilada" Hamburger Helper
- "Lasagna" Hamburger Helper
Homemade Hamburger Helper ~ Cheeseburger Macaroni
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup elbow macaroni
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (2 cups) sharp cheddar, freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, brown ground beef and garlic; drain grease. Stir in paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix in diced tomatoes, beef broth, and macaroni; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pan. Simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is tender.
- While the beef/macaroni mixture is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce by placing a medium pot over medium heat. Melt butter. Use a whisk to stir in flour, whisking continuously until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Continue to whisk while slowly and gradually adding milk. Whisk until sauce is smooth and thickened, between 5 to 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add grated cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until completely melted and smooth before adding more. Once all cheese has been incorporated and the cheese sauce is smooth, stir in garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Once the macaroni is done, pour the cheese sauce over the ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Kevin & Amanda
Post originally published on September 8, 2015.