Tag Archives: Ground Beef

Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

9 Jun

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Sometimes you just want to have some good old comfort food. For most Americans, Hamburger Helper is/was a common staple at dinner time. Only problem is, it’s full of so much salt and additives that you can’t help but feel a little guilty eating it. This is a homemade version that gets rid of all that yucky junk you don’t need and leaves you with only the yummy cheeseburger goodness you want.


  • 1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1½ cups macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Brown ground beef in a deep pan or pot (you’ll be adding a lot of liquid). Drain the fat.
  2. Add spices, sugar, hot water, milk, & pasta and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until the pasta is tender.
  4. Add cheddar cheese and turn off the heat. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve.

Adapted from Food.com


Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

15 Apr
2014-04-09 17.59.35

I had a pretty picture all set up of the beautiful sauce & meatballs sitting on top of the spaghetti with cheese and then I promptly forgot about the picture and ate it instead. So here’s my half-eaten plate of spaghetti & meatballs!

I don’t know what it is about spaghetti and meatballs that’s so fun. It always just looks so delicious and comforting. Now I typically just make spaghetti with meat sauce, but every once in a while I like to mix it up a bit and do meatballs instead. These meatballs are super easy to make and have a great flavor from using a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the spaghetti sauce is killer too. This whole recipe will probably take close to 2 hours to make, but most of that is for the sauce to simmer. Well worth the time I say.

2014-04-09 16.23.25

For the Meatballs:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands. Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until the seasonings are well blended with the meat. Add the eggs and while mixing, add in the bread crumbs ½ cup at a time (up to 1½ cups) until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.

Form the meat into 1½” balls with your hands and place on a baking sheet so the meatballs are close but not touching. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned. The meatballs will not be fully cooked.  (Start sauce while meatballs are cooking).

Adapted from Food.com

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles

In a large, heavy stockpot, cook the onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Stir in red wine & meatballs.

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for at least an hour. About 10-15 minutes before sauce is ready, cook spaghetti noodles.

Spoon sauce and meatballs over drained spaghetti and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Food.com

Beef Sliders with Jalapeño-Lime Aioli

29 Jan

I have to admit I was mostly intrigued by this recipe because of the use of sweet potato slices as buns. I didn’t think they would be suitable substitutes for bread, but man was I wrong. These little burgers were so dang good. The potatoes added a hint of  sweetness to the burger which was actually incredibly delicious and they held up very well… no breakage. The recipe says to cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise but I didn’t think that made much sense because then they would’ve been regular burger size (or bigger) and weird long ovals.  So I sliced my potatoes into regular rounds (having purposely chosen fatter potatoes). And then there’s the aioli. Holy moly aioli! I wanted to lick the bowl clean and I would have if I could’ve done it without getting mayo in my hair. For those of you that may feed these to kids, the jalapeño wasn’t spicy at all, just an added flavor. Despite the seemingly long list of ingredients and instructions, these were actually fairly quick to make. You really need to make these!

jalapeno lime sliders

Makes 12 Sliders

Sweet Potato “Buns”

  • 2 medium or 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1/8-1/4 inch thick
  • Sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place sweet potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly coated with coconut oil. Season with sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, and Italian seasoning.  Bake approximately 10 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until done.

Let finished sweet potatoes rest for a few minutes.



  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or bacon fat
  • Garnishes (lettuce, onion, tomatoes, pickles)

Season meat with  salt, pepper, and garlic; mix together and with your hands. Divide meat into 12 equal-sized balls and flatten into sliders (about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches across). 


Jalapeño-Lime Aioli

  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon diced jalapeño
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a  small bowl.



Place a dollop of aioli on one sweet potato “bun” and top with a slider. Add toppings as desired and top with another sweet potato bun. Enjoy!

Adapted from Everyday Paleo

Vegan Ground “Beef”

6 Nov

In an effort to reduce my meat/dairy intake, I’ve been trying to find alternatives for some of my favorite foods. While this is fairly easy to do if you’re willing to buy off-the-shelf items, it becomes a little more frustrating when you add budgeting and health into the mix. Buying vegan versions of meat and dairy items is not only extremely expensive, the foods are often full of preservatives and such. Not exactly a great trade-off in my opinion.

Problem is, a lot of the recipes I’ve found that don’t use meat/dairy substitutes are weird. I mean weird in the sense that, it’s not what I’m used to eating. I see recipes with names like “Mexican Millet” or “Jamaican Yuca Shepherd’s Pie” and want to run away screaming. I just want normal food. Is that so much to ask? I mean I like trying new things and all, but there’s a limit to what I can handle. I’ve read countless reviews on vegan cookbooks and websites but it just gets so overwhelming. So I decided I needed to start with what I know.  I’m starting with the basics. Finding homemade, delicious replacements for my favorite, most frequently used ingredients.

Among the things I use the most is ground beef. It’s a staple in so many of my comfort foods. Granted, most comfort foods aren’t exactly healthy, but I think with this new veggie based substitute, they’ll be a little bit better.

A commonly used replacement for ground beef is TVP, or “Textured Vegetable Protein.” Sounds delicious, eh? I swear it’s better than it sounds. Basically it’s dried soy-based chunks. Or granules. Or whatever size/shape you decide to get. I got these because I figured they’d be closest to ground beef consistency. Now, you can buy beef flavored TVP, but I wanted something I could tailor to whatever recipe I was making. Plus, this way I can better control what’s in my food. Best part is, this stuff is super cheap. One cup of dry TVP is approximately equal to 1 pound of ground beef. Using those measurements, each pound of my ground “beef” would cost about $1. That’s right ONE DOLLAR for a pound of ground beef. Not a bad substitute, eh? Even if you are a beef eater, this is a great way to keep your grocery bill down and save your real meat budget for higher quality stuff that has more prominence in the meal, like a roast. No sense in spending $3 a pound or more for real ground beef when the flavor is just covered up by taco seasonings or hidden in a sauce. If cost wasn’t enough to convince you, TVP will keep without refrigeration making it perfect for camping or emergency food storage!

Now, I haven’t tried using this in any recipes where the ground beef is used in greater quantities such as meatloaf or meatballs, but I plan on giving that a shot soon and will keep you posted with any successful endeavors.

So, without further ado, here’s my fabulous recipe for ground “beef,” a delightful, even delicious replacement for the real thing. Enjoy!

beef tvp

  • 1 cup TVP
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • liquid smoke to taste, optional

Place TVP in a skillet with water and soy sauce. If any dry TVP remains, add just enough water to wet it. Cook over medium-low heat until the water is completely absorbed. Once water is absorbed, taste to make sure TVP is completely tender. If not, add a little water at a time until desired consistency is reached (about 10-15 minutes).

Add the oil, seasonings, liquid smoke & additional soy sauce to taste (if desired).  Fry over medium-low heat until the chunks are firm and the mixture resembles ground beef. Stir occasionally to make sure that it cooks evenly and does not stick.

Adapted from Vegweb.com


Homemade CrunchWrap Supremes

12 Oct
I couldn’t wait to post this recipe because it turned out SO good. For reals. I may just live off of these for the unforeseeable future. They were incredibly easy to make and fun to eat. Not to mention delicious! I chose to put my nacho cheese in a pastry bag to make assembly easier and it worked really well. Also, I highly recommend using nacho cheese if at all possible. At my grocery store they keep it in the pasta aisle in the same general area as the Velveeta cheese. I bet these would be awesome for kids to eat as well because they were so much easier to eat than tacos. And they look cool. So make them!
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 5 small tostada shells
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • sour cream
  • nacho cheese (or shredded Mexican blend cheese)
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
Brown ground beef in a skillet, then add taco seasoning (according to package directions). Set aside.
Working with one flour tortilla at a time, microwave for about 10 seconds. Lay out the flour tortilla and spoon some of the seasoned beef into the center. Top with some nacho cheese (or shredded cheese). Place the tostada shell on top of the cheese and spread a dollop of sour cream on top of it. Top with diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce.
Starting with the bottom of the tortilla, fold the edge up to the center. Continue doing this in a clockwise or counter-clockwise movement until all of the tortilla is folded over, and the filling is entirely enclosed. If your filling isn’t entirely enclosed, cut out a circle from another flour tortilla and place it on the exposed area, then wrap the tortilla again.
Spray a frying pan with cooking spray.  Carefully place the Crunchwrap, seam-side down, in the pan. Press with a spatula and cook on medium-low heat, for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is nice and brown. Flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

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Salad Tacos

17 Feb

Salad Tacos

I don’t know what it was about this recipe, but I wanted to make it as soon as I saw it. Now, turns out this isn’t all that different from a regular taco, but there were a couple things worth noting that made these extra delicious.

First of all, the taco meat was fabulous. This was the first time I’d ever bought chili beans and I thought the addition of them to the meat was delicious. Pretty sure this is going to be my new go-to way to make taco meat. Also, I swapped the beef for ground turkey. It’s healthier and nobody can tell the difference. For reals. I actually sub ground turkey for ground beef quite frequently, especially when the recipe is heavily seasoned like this one.

So the second thing I liked about this recipe was the use of a homemade spicy southwestern dressing. It was really simple to make and tasted great. Oh and just one last tip… don’t bother making these reverse-style with the lettuce first as described in the recipe. Meat first works much better. I guess if you really wanted it to be more salad-like you could always put it in a taco bowl instead.

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Cheeseburger Soup

21 Sep

Somehow I always end up making recipes with nacho cheese whenever I have to scrounge up something for dinner. Oh well. If it tastes good, who cares, right? While I wouldn’t say this soup tasted like a cheeseburger, it was delicious and made those pesky hunger pangs go away in short order.

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