Dairy Free “Hamburger Helper”

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 6, 2009

I love this meal. It’s a kid favorite, only uses one skillet. And tastes like the “real” fake stuff! Minus all the preservatives and “gunk”! 

You could change this up a number of ways.  Add cheese if you like.  Or add taco seasoning with the water. Or both.  Toss in some frozen vegetables while it’s cooking.  This is really a basic meal that can be modified in many ways!

Not the most “glamorous” meal, but we all thought it was tasty!

Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef ($1.29) Bought when on sale for $1.29/lb.
1 onion, chopped ($.20)
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.10)
Pepper
3 Tbsp dairy free margarine or butter ($.30)
3 Tbsp flour ($.05) Use rice flour to make this GF
3 cups milk ($.30) Use rice milk to keep dairy free
1 cup water
2 cups whole wheat elbow or shell pasta noodles ($.50) On sale this week…1 lb. for $1; Use rice pasta noodles for GF version
Salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz bag of frozen peas ($.68) Bought from Walmart back in June

*Note: I did cook the remaining shells in another pot and other 1/2 lb. of ground beef. I used it to make “spaghetti shells” for the boys’ lunch tomorrow! It seemed the most logical way to use up the other 1/2 lb. meat and pasta noodles!

Directions
1. In large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Season with pepper. Once fully cooked, drain and rinse ground beef. Do not return beef to the skillet. Yet.
2. In same skillet, add margarine or butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a paste. Quickly whisk in milk until no clumps remain. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Once sauce starts to thicken, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of pasta shells. Stir through. Add 1 lb. of meat and mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta shells have cooked through. Stir often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.  Sauce will thicken slightly after removing from heat.
3. Prepare frozen peas as indicated on package instructions.
4. Serve “Hamburger Helper” Pasta with Peas.

Cost $3.42

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn August 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm

This looks really easy and very kid friendly!

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Cindy@LivingRich August 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

LOL, this is what we had tonight too but with ground turkey over rice instead of the macaroni. My family has loved this for years and it’s much better then the box stuff (and healthier too). Great price for you at $3.42. I think mine was around $6.00 but I did feed 6 grown people with it. Love all your recipes I look forward to them every night!

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Zoeys_mom August 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I am going to send this link to my friend that has a kiddo highly allergic to dairy

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Lauren @ New-Fashioned Housewife August 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

My hubby is worse than most little kids about the types of food that he likes (pasta and no veggies). This meal is definitely Pete-friendly and helpful for my newly developing food sensitivities! I will have to try it.

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Emily @ LiveRenewed August 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for such a great basic recipe! I’ve been looking for ways to reduce convenience foods in our house and replace them with homemade and healthier versions! This is great for that! And I love that you can modify it in so many ways!

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Rachel August 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

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Amiyrah @ 4 hats and frugal December 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I have a great homemade hamburger helper recipe that really is dairy free; no regular milk and no rice milk. I have it on my blog about frugality. It’s our go-to meal when we get ground beef or turkey at a great discount and I need a meal fast.

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Rebecca August 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm

How did I not find you until tonight! I have been Gluten Free and Dairy free for 3 years and have tried TONS of recipes trying to get a good tasting dinner! This is so much better than good it is FANTASTIC! We used it over rice because we were out of pasta. We will have a great time playing with this recipe to get different flavors. I am also going to be spending more time on your site!

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