Healthy Hamburger Helper: Retro Mom Meal

healthy hamburger helperIf you were a latchkey kid, a child of divorce, or even just your average suburban family with a SAHM, you probably got your fair share of Hamburger Helper growing up in the 1970s and '80s.

Now The Helper isn't seen as such "a great meal" since we're aware of the downside of sodium and MSG and all things unnatural. But it was definitely a fast and easy fix that filled up the family.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop re-creates Hamburger Helper meals on her blog, and I've found one that feels very familiar to this child of the '80s:


Noodle Skillet

Here's what Kelly substitutes to make things less processed and healthier:

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles (whole wheat is best -- I can’t find whole wheat egg noodles, so I use organic whole wheat rotini, shells, or penne)
  • 3/4 pound ground beef (from a farm with grass-fed cows that are not fed animal by-products or soymeal and aren’t given hormones)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/4 cups water (filtered water if possible -- I know, I’m getting on your nerves that I have to be picky about everything)
  • 1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

I might even take her recipe and cut down on the ground beef to 1/2 pound, since we're learning how to eat less red meat at our house. Of course without the hamburger, it would hardly be Hamburger Helper, now would it?

What are your favorite retro meals? And do you make them in your own home?


Image via cloudsoup/Flickr

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