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Dairy Free “Hamburger Helper”

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!

Dairy Free “Hamburger Helper”

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 35 minutes


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prepare frozen peas as indicated on package instructions.
  • Serve “Hamburger Helper” Pasta with Peas.

Cost $3.42