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Box meals like cheeseburger stew from Hamburger Helper are not only quick and easy ways to make dinner on busy weekdays, they are also comforting and can even evoke some childhood nostalgia.
But if the idea of serving a box dinner makes you feel a little uneasy – they are typically filled with preservatives – we have recently found a good recipe online that allows you to make Hamburger Helper-style cheeseburger stew from scratch !
This recipe for cheeseburger stew from The Kitchn requires minced beef, onions, beef broth, elbow macaroni, spices and a few other ingredients that are easy to find. Once all is cooked, add the cheddar cheese on top and let it melt into the rest of the ingredients. The recipe only takes five minutes to prepare and is ready in 30 minutes and offers up to four to six servings.
Like the version in the box, The Kitchen’s cheeseburger casserole is made in one casserole so you do not get to dirty tons of plates. If you want to serve it in the middle of the table, you would probably like to transfer it from the pot you cooked it in to a casserole dish, but you will still only need two dishes to make the whole meal.
Of course, you can also make substitutes for the recipe if there are some ingredients you do not like, including using a different kind of cheese. You can also make it healthier by replacing the ground beef with minced turkey, which has fewer calories and fat.
Vegetarians can even adjust the recipe a bit by replacing the meat with plant-based soil. You can also use beans instead of meat or a meat substitute, vegan cheese, vegan Worcestershire sauce and beef-free broth and then the whole recipe becomes vegan.
To make sure you get your recommended amount of vegetables for the day, you can also add some steamed vegetables to the mix, such as broccoli or cauliflower, or serve the dish with a side of vegetables or a salad.
Several one-pot dinners in box style
Some savvy internet chefs have also come up with some other homemade Hamburger Helper-style recipes, like this one from The Novice Chef that adds flour to thicken it and pasta shells for a slightly different texture if you are burnt out of elbow macaroni.
Along with the flour and pasta, you should have minced beef (or one of the entrees we mentioned above), beef broth, tomato sauce, heavy cream, cheese and a handful of spices, including smoked peppers, which have a richer, heavier taste than regular paprika.
The novice chef notes that the dish is quite rich, and if you need more liquid for your pasta, you can use water or extra beef broth. If you are replacing the shells with another paste, just try using a similar size so that the liquid ratio is accurate.
If you want to make it a little healthier, this recipe from Half-Baked Harvest is pretty similar, but requires milk instead of heavy cream and also adds grated zucchini to make sure you get some vegetables for your comfort dish.
Also made with just a pan, first cook the meat with a little olive oil and onion and then stir in the spices. You then add the uncooked pasta, which you bring to a boil in the broth and milk. Cheese is next, followed by toppings of your choice, like fresh parsley.
Other One-Pot Dinner Recipes
If Hamburger Helper-style recipes simply aren’t for you, there are plenty of other one-pot recipes that are just as easy and comforting, but with a different flavor profile, like this creamy chicken and bacon pasta we’ve written about before. .
The recipe calls for penne pasta, chicken breast, bacon, spinach, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and a half and a half, plus spices like peppers and garlic. It all comes with about 20 minutes of preparation time and 20 minutes of cooking time.
Another one-pot chicken parmesan dish, this recipe from The Chunky Chef calls for chicken breast, pasta, your favorite marinara sauce and both mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
You simply cook the chicken with spices in a pan or frying pan, then remove the chicken and cook some onions. You then add marinara sauce and water, add the chicken back and a little pasta, and cook it until the pasta is done. When all is cooked, stir in the cheese and add more if you like, then garnish with more spices.
If you are into a dish with a bit of Mexican flair, this one-pot enchilada pasta from Peas and Crayons is not only fast, but also quite healthy, as it is vegetarian and uses chickpea pasta.
It only takes 10 minutes of preparation time and 30 minutes of cooking time, so it can be quick on a weekday evening or just a comforting dish for a weekend meal. It requires some pretty basic ingredients you might already have on hand, like enchilada sauce, black beans, crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth.
It can also be adapted to everyone in the family by using separate toppings, such as sour cream, coriander, green onions, tomato, jalapeño and cheese.
If you’ve adding these to your weekly rotation, let’s know how it goes!