Homemade hamburger helper lasagna tastes just like the boxed brand version, but with pantry staple ingredients, and it's still a one-pan quick and easy dinner in 30 minutes or less.
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?
Making it homemade means that you get to avoid a lot of unwanted ingredients.
1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet on medium high heat.
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.)
2. Add the chicken stock, spices and tomato paste.
Stir to combine and bring to a very high simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 5-10 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low, and add the milk and pasta.
Remove the skillet from the direct heat before you add in the milk and pasta, so that the sudden heat doesn't curdle the milk. Stir to combine, and return to the burner.
Simmer on low heat, covered, for about 7-8 minutes, until noodles are al dente. Don't overcook them, as they can get mushy in the sauce.
4. Stir in cheese.
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 this classic comfort food for dinner, knowing you're using real, whole ingredients.
- 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.
- If you've used broken lasagna noodles, they'll take a bit longer to cook; refer to the box instructions for al dente time.)
Other copycat inspired and comfort food dinner recipes you might like to try are below.
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.