Out of the Box Hamburger Helper! No more processed boxed food for dinner! #Real Food Girl: Unmodified
60 Minutes or Less,  Grains, Rice, Pasta

Out of the Box Hamburger Helper (GMO-Free)

Today I wanted to bring back one of my earlier recipes where I felt if it just got a little more face time that you guys would fall in love with it and want to make it.  Unfortunately, I only have not-so-decent pictures of the dish.  Although the picture doesn’t do this recipe justice,  trust me when I tell you that this dish is SO yummy.  I even have a friend from back in high school that has made this for her young children a couple of times and they love it!  So if they can eat it and love it and not let the pictures scare them, than so can you!

Did you know that I’m becoming a bit of a curmudgeon in my not so old age.  I’m also a little persnickety when it comes to Processed-salt-lick-fake-unwholesome-dinner-in-a-box meals.  Specifically, Hamburger Helper (HH).   Whose bright idea was it to brainwash busy mothers everywhere into thinking this was a suitable replacement for something homemade?  I won’t demonize you for buying HH and serving it to your family.  We are all at different points in our journey with Whole/Real foods.  My goal is to help you navigate along your journey and provide you with additional options for you and your family.  This dish is one such option.

Because of my deep seeded disdain for highly processed “foods” I’m going to show you how to make a homemade version of that infamous boxed meal that will only take an additional 15 minutes worth of prep but it will taste a lot better AND it will be more nutritious and satisfying.  Best part is that you’ll be eating real food, and you won’t need any blood pressure medication after you eat my variety of HH.  You’ll love this more than that little box sporting that creepy, smiley, white-gloved hand. Seriously- how does that not give people nightmares?

I want you to truly enjoy this meal. It’s comforting, rich, filling, saucy, meaty… it’s nothing but a plate full of happy food.  You’ll be adding this recipe to your regular line up and you’ll never buy boxed HH again. You won’t, right?

I am also sharing this recipe for Real Food Wednesday’s over at Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Blog.  Please click on the hyperlink and   stop by and see all the other great recipes.  (If Real Food Wednesday’s is crossed out, the link should still work. I’ve been trying to fix this for 4 hours, and for whatever reason it won’t correct itself!  Worst case scenario,cut and paste this URL into your browser if the hyperlink won’t work: 

I feature Real Food recipes each Wednesday over at Kelly The Kitchen Kop's Blog.  Stop by and see all the fabulous recipes and resources each Wednesday!!



Out of the Box Hamburger Helper!  No more processed boxed food for dinner!  #Real Food Girl: Unmodified


Out of the Box Hamburger Helper

Recipe by: Real Food Girl: Unmodified
All ingredients used were Organic and/or GMO-Free
Serves: 4
On the table in about 45 minutes
** Try to use as many organic/non-GMO ingredients as possible**


  • 1 Box uncooked rigatoni pasta (I use this pasta brand from Whole Foods)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese (grate your own)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup homemade beef stock (all boxed beef stocks/broths even organic have MSG- and hidden forms of it like Yeast Extract)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced baby portabella mushrooms or 1/2 cup dried mushrooms reconstituted and chopped fine.  Shitake or portabella are my favorites for this dish
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion- diced fine
  • 1 tsp. freshly minced thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 TB. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 cup sherry or white wine. If you don’t have either or don’t want to use either, increase your beef stock by 1/4 cup.
  • IF APPLICABLE: 1/2-3/4 cup of the mushroom water used to reconstitute the dried mushrooms. Make sure you strain this before you use it as dried mushrooms have dirt on them, and the dirt will settle to the bottom of your bowl.  And dirt isn’t yummy.
  • ½-3/4 cup of the pasta water (you may not need all of this)
  • 1 lb. grass-fed 90/10 ground beef
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Season the ground beef with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.
  3. Add 1 tsp. EVOO and ground beef to a preheated skillet.  Over medium-high heat cook the ground beef until no more pink remains.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes less than the package instructs as the pasta will finish cooking in the cream sauce. Drain and set aside if your pasta finishes before your sauce is ready.
  5. Return your skillet to medium low heat and add 1 tsp. EVOO.
  6. Add the onions (salt and pepper them lightly) and cook until they are soft, slightly caramelized and translucent.
  7. Add mushrooms, thyme, and garlic and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft.
  8. Add sherry or white wine to deglaze the pan. Stirring and scraping up the bits on the bottom of your skillet, cook until only 1 TB or less of the sherry/white wine remains.
  9. Increase the heat to medium high and add the beef stock and/or mushroom water, and cook until it is reduced almost by half.
  10. Add cream to the onion-mushroom mixture and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and enough pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
  11. Continue to cook until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened and the pasta is well coated.
  12. Add the Parmesan and parsley and stir to combine.
  13. Add the ground beef and cook until warmed through.
  14. On occasion I’ve had to add an additional splash of stock or mushroom water once the ground beef was added just to loosen the sauce enough so that it coated the meat well.  If you need to do this, go right ahead.  If you prefer more sauce, use a bit more cream and stock up in steps 7 and 8.
  15. EAT IT !

HH Prep Collage


Out of the Box Hamburger Helper from  #Real Food Girl: Unmodified

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Classically trained Cordon Bleu chef turned anti-GMO, pro-organic, food hippie blogger with a passion for REAL food.


  • Car Part

    If all blogs were as well written as yours, the internet would be a better place to perform research. Good work, and thanks for spending some time to express your opinions with everyone on this subject.

  • Lynsey @MoscatoMom

    Ummm, those pictures looked good enough to make ME want to go to the grocery store at nearly 9pm just to make this…. man blog hopping at night through all of my Foodie Buddies is TOUGH! LOL

    • Real Food Girl

      I don’t know how you do it. Honestly- no clue. It’s a good thing that Trader Joe’s closes at 9:00 or I’d be there with you!

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