Cheeseburger Pasta

I may or may not drop everything and dedicate my life to recreating childhood classics. Hamburger Helper? I’ll have seconds, please. Cardboard box with an animated white gloved hand? Yup, that’s the one.

I’d like to question the marketing team behind that Betty Crocker-branded mascot. At what point did the board room decide that a cartoon hand with a face would be the prime representative of my beloved Cheeseburger Macaroni? Maybe around the time I decided to invest my life savings in pogs and cassette tapes. Because those were genius moves.

I don’t know about you, but I have the fondest memories of that gooey pasta piled on my plate. In an effort to relive the six o’clock hour of my childhood, plate piled with gooey pasta, me sitting with my nose just touching the TV screen in the kitchen, the episode of Full House where Stephanie has to say goodbye to Mr. Bear blaring a few decibels too high.

I’d say this homemade version does justice to both Betty Crocker and the Tanner family. Spirals of rotini twirling with gooey sharp cheddar cheese, juicy crumbles of ground beef, and chunks of sweet red tomato. A cheeseburger incognito.

In other news, I’ve started walking to work. It’s about a mile and a half each way which I think is the perfect distance. The one feat? I live on a massive hill. Walking home is a fifteen minute climb on par with Everest I assume. If only I had trained for this, spent a week at base camp getting acclimated. In a few months, I’ll either have unbelievably toned legs or a pocketful of police citations for the profanities I’m bound to utter halfway to the summit. It’s anyone’s guess.

Gasping for air and all, I do enjoy it.  I get my daily exercise in, can listen to audiobooks all the way there and back, and save $5 a day in transportation. Ideal. And when I come home to nostalgic meals like this, the trek uphill is all the more worthwhile. The only thing I’m missing is DJ and the gang.

Cheeseburger Pasta (adapted from Taste of Home)

  • 8 0z uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1.5 teaspoon steak seasoning- I used McCormick brand
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped green onions, optional

Boil pasta, drain, and set aside.

Add the ground beef to a large pan set over medium heat, breaking it up with a fork as it begins to brown.

After 1 minute of cooking the beef, add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic.

Stir in the steak seasoning and salt.

Add the diced tomatoes, Dijon mustard, and ketchup.

Stir to combine. Let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend and the beef can cook through.

Stir in the pasta.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Mix well and serve immediately.



35 thoughts on “Cheeseburger Pasta

  1. Erica

    This puts the boxed version to shame! All of those childhood references are awesome. Pogs…oh my gosh! I forgot those existed!

  2. Amy @ Second City Randomness

    ha ha… I actually saw the title and instantly thought – Oh! I loved that stuff that hamburger helper made! But I wasn’t going to say it because your version looks divine and to compare it would just be insulting…

    But then you mentioned it. SO it’s ok… :) My mom never used hamburger helper until my brother and I were a little older, but it was an instant win for us! mmm…

  3. homecookedem

    I used to love Hamburger Helper as a kid and oddly enough hadn’t thought of it in years till I first got pregnant and all of a sudden wanted it. Thankfully I didn’t give in to the urge, but this recipe sounds wonderful!!

  4. Tina

    That looks positively amazing! I love that this recipe is the first one I come across now that I am back to being able to read blogs. I actually saw some Hamburger Helper at the store the other day and thought (in my weird preggo head) it sounded amazing but didn’t want to buy it bec I knew there were other options that would be better to eat. Now I have an option. Thanks!

    PS – I missed reading your blog and am so happy to be back. :)

  5. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth)

    this sounds delicious- hamburger helper was definitely one of those things i lOVED growing up. good idea :)


  6. Cindy

    Oh, after last night’s raw mushroom alfredo, my guys would LOVE a comforting meal like this!

    woo hoo. and think of the salt you are omitting by making it yourself.

    My guys are still gushing over the australian meat pies too! YOU are so inspiring!!!! I hope you know.

  7. cozydelicious

    This looks awesome! My favorite kind of comfort food.. cheesy and rich. Perfect! I hate hamburger helper – it just has a funny taste to me – but my husband grew up on the stuff and adores it. This will be a fantastic compromise!

  8. Brittany

    I so love Hamburger Helper! It’s totally my weakness! I bet yours is a whole lot yummier though!

    I laughed out loud when you mentioned pogs!! I forgot all about those!

  9. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    Seattle has some CRAZY hills!! I live on a hil now, and it has done amazing things for my butt! :) You wont regret the decision to walk.

    I never liked Hamburger Helper. Probably because the only time we ever ate it was when my mom was at work and my dad had to cook dinner. He probably didnt even make it right. This however, sounds amazing. Anything with cheese is a winner in my books.

  10. Pingback: He was right! « a sparkle a day

  11. Abby

    I made this and loved it!! My husband and I thought it was WAY better than Hamburger Helper! A very good thing too becuase he doesn’t acutally like Hamburger Helper! I will be posting this to my blog later this week and linking to you!

  12. Lomi Lomi

    Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the market chief and a good section of other folks will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  13. Leslie

    I’ve made this tons of times and i love it! However, this recipe doesn’t show up under the recipe tab though… I’m worried that Im missing other great recipes.

  14. Laura

    Please tell me how many servings this recipe makes. I made it (using Cavender’s instead of steak seasoning) and loved it!


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