Healthier alternative to Hamburger Helper

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If we’re all honest, the truth is that as much as we want to be healthy and eat great meals, sometimes life gets in the way and we’re tempted to go for something that’s really not so healthy. The perfect example came last night. We were supposed to have an early BBQ. George had to play that evening (yes, on a Sunday; a rock star’s work is never done!) but he had offered to make his delicious homemade burgers and we would eat them with salad. Thus, he got the necessary ingredients.

However we somehow turned our lazy Sunday into one where we could not handle the post-apocalyptic nature of our basement and we tore it apart and made some changes, and effectively ran out of time. George said it was getting too late and that he’d run out and pick up some Hamburger Helper.


There are some cheat foods that I love. I know there is no nutritional value in a package of Sidekicks noodles but damn if I don’t love them. What I absolutely do NOT love though is Hamburger Helper, I don’t care how friendly that little talking glove is. I said, “well if you’re going out, how about picking up some diced tomatoes and some spiral pasta instead, and I’ll make my homemade version instead?”


Technically I got this recipe from his mom. She made it for us once and I loved it and how quick & easy it was and I’ve made it countless time since then. I had actually forgotten about it but since it’s a do-it-yourself homemade Hamburger Helper-esque meal I remembered. It’s healthier, just as easy, and takes the same amount of time. If you get the low sodium versions of the ingredients you’ll be golden!

Here it is, homemade beef and tomato skillet dinner, better than anything a talking glove can cook up!

Hamburger Helper Alternative

Healthier Alternative to Hamburger Helper – Pin it for later!


  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • Seasonings to taste (I like to use a metric ton of garlic – give or take – and some basil or oregano)
  • 1 large can of low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 envelope of low sodium onion soup mid
  • 2 cups of small pasta like fusilli or macaroni or shells
  • 2 cups of water
  • Grated cheese, optional

Cook the beef with your seasonings until done. Drain off any fat, return to medium heat. Empty envelope of onion soup mix onto beef and add tomatoes with juices. Stir well. Pour in water and increase heat until water boils. Stir in pasta. Once it returns to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. At the end of 15 minutes the pasta should be done and most of the liquid should be absorbed. Serve with cheese if desired. I had no cheese this time but it was just as tasty without it.

There’s a lot of salt in the soup mix and the tomatoes but lower sodium varieties are better and it’s STILL better than Hamburger Helper!


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1 thought on “Healthier alternative to Hamburger Helper

  1. Lulu

    You have posted this one in the past and it is now labeled as Sherry’s Beef and Macaroni Skillet in my files. 5 Stars! Also good with ground turkey or mix of turkey and beef. I would cook anything your post – except maybe poutine 🙂


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