Homemade hamburger helper lasagna is packed full of real tomato and herbs, nutrient rich stock, 100% real shredded cheese and ground beef. A one-pan dinner-time staple, but with better nutritional value- done in 30 minutes!
The funny thing about Homemade Hamburger Helper, is that it's just as easy as the boxed dinner. Which leads me to question, why it needed to be packaged up in the first place? (Ingredient list here.)
Making it homemade means that you get to avoid a lot of unwanted ingredients.
how to make hamburger helper lasagna
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet. This recipe calls for one pound of ground beef. (Sometimes I use half a pound, or increase it to a pound and a half, depending on my family's needs. Doing so doesn't affect the sauce consistency.)
Once the hamburger is browned and cooked, add the chicken stock, (here's instructions on how to make and can your own chicken stock), spices and tomato paste.
Mafalda pasta is the kind that resembles the original boxed brand. If you can't find mafalda, you can use regular lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces, or make your own pasta shapes with homemade pasta dough.
Bring the mixture to a boil on medium high heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, and add the milk and pasta.
Simmer for about 7-8 minutes, until noodles are al dente. Don't overcook them, as they can get mushy in the sauce. (If you've used broken lasagna noodles, they'll take a bit longer; refer to the box instructions for al dente time.)
Once they've reached al dente, remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle in the shredded cheese and gently stir throughout, letting it melt completely.
Enjoy a classic comfort food, knowing you're using real, whole ingredients.
Hamburger Helper Lasagna
- ½ lb ground beef
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 2 ½ cups dry uncooked mafalda pasta or broken up lasagna pasta pieces
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese shredded off block, not pre shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan, Monterey jack, or mozzarella cheese shredded off block, not pre shredded
- salt and pepper to taste see recipe notes below on salt
- In a deep skillet: sauté ground beef (½ lb.) on medium high heat until browned. Drain grease if necessary.
- To the same pan, still on medium high heat: pour in the chicken stock (2 cups), tomato paste (3 oz. or half of a small can), onion powder (1 tsp.), garlic powder (½ tsp.), dried oregano (1 tsp.), dried basil (1 tsp.) sugar (½ tsp.), and salt (½ tsp.-see note on salt) and pinch of pepper to taste.
- Stir broth, tomato paste and seasonings until well blended and increase heat to high for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Reduce heat to low, and temporarily remove the pan from the burner to stop the simmer. Add the dry, uncooked Mafalda pasta (2 ½ cups), give a slight stir, followed by 2 cups milk. Do not overcook it, and do not use higher than medium low heat, as this can curdle the milk.
- Once the milk has been added, give a quick stir and return the skillet to the burner.
- Simmer, covered, on low heat about 6-7 minutes for al dente, or according to pasta package time. (See note on pasta cooking time.)
- When the pasta is done, remove lid and skillet from heat. Stir in shredded cheese (½ cup total- a blend of cheddar and Parmesan, mozzarella or Monterey jack) until melted.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy.
- Any pasta shape can be used, but Mafalda is the pasta that the boxed Hamburger Helper Lasagna uses.
- Breaking regular lasagna sheets into 1 inch pieces resembles the pasta also, but note that the cooking time might longer. Refer to package to determine the cooking time for your pasta of choice.
- Aim for al dente, as pasta will continue to soften in the sauce due to residual heat and moisture.
- Chicken stock often has much less (if any) salt/sodium than chicken broth. They can be used interchangeably, but taste test before adding salt, especially if you are using broth- you may not need any, or not as much.
- Ground beef can be adjusted from anywhere between one half pound to 1 pound.
- Recipe can be doubled.
- While boiling the stock, tomato paste and spices on medium-high/high heat, the liquid level will reduce and condense; this is normal and necessary to concentrate the flavors.
- Use any blend of cheddar, Monterrey Jack, mozzarella, or like cheese to a combined total of ½ cup shredded cheese.
- Before adding milk and uncooked pasta, remove the pan from the burner surface to avoid instantly boiling the milk. Stir in the pasta first (this automatically reduces the temperature), then stir in the milk. This way, the milk gradually comes to a simmer as you return the skillet to burner to simmer on medium low until pasta is al dente.