I turned around to see the surprised look on my husband’s face as he asked me that question. Apparently, he had been reading this week’s menus on our calendar.

“Yessss…” I slowly replied. “But it is not from a box.” 🙂

In one of my recent visit’s to Heavenly Homemakers I was once again happily reading her menu ideas.  I saw her recipe for Cheeseburger Macaroni (A Hamburger Helper Makeover) and instantly thought of the majorly slightly freezer burnt pound of ground beef that I still had left in my deep freeze. 🙂  Since we are moving in a few weeks I have been trying to clear out my freezer and pantry stashes without having to buy a lot of extra ingredients.  This recipe seemed perfect since I had everything on hand except the whole wheat noodles.  Which were $1.00 at Walmart.  And I only used half the box for dinner- so I can handle a $.50 purchase to make dinner happen. 🙂

I started with her Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
3 cups whole milk
1/2 t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar)

Mix pasta, milk and salt in a large sauce pan.  Cook over medium-high heat STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Add cheese and stir until melted.

Now… I must say I had tried this before and served it as regular old mac and cheese at our house.  And we were not all that thrilled with the taste.  I loved the creaminess of it, but the flavor of the whole wheat pasta seemed overwhelming to me.  However, seeing that the hamburger helper meal had beef and spices added- I figured it would hide the taste better of the noodles and this dinner just might be a hit for all involved.

I then added a little bit of each of these seasonings.  Sorry I did not measure them, just added some of each (more chili powder and garlic) than anything else and just tasted it a few times to make sure it was ok.

These are all the spices that she suggests adding in (homemade taco seasoning) – however, since we are moving I did not want to mess with having extra in the house so I just created my own combo.  Bummer too, since my family LOVED dinner… I probably won’t be able to re-create it. 😉  And no, that skillet is not hot.  But I have found that since my cast iron skillet is so heavy, I don’t want to take it in and out of the cabinet.  So I just leave it on the stove top and I’m much more willing to use it to to cook.

Here is a look at the finished product:

See how creamy that looks?  I was pretty excited initially (since having tried cooking the whole wheat noodles in the milk instead of water before I knew that it created a starch that really make things thick and saucy).  However, once I added in the beef, I realized it was not going to be as creamy as I hoped.  And I’m not one for dry food…. at all. My first thought was “add more cheese” but then quickly realized that is not going to help me reach my goal. So I decided to take measures into my own hands and whip out my favorite secret ingredient.  If you have been here long, you may remember me mentioning this before:

Yep, that did it!  Dinner was so creamy and yummy- wow it was good!  (The final picture above already had the plain yogurt added in).  I seriously keep a tub of this yogurt in my fridge at all times- I have used it so many times!  In fact, I am using it tonight again on our tuna melts to mix with the tuna instead of mayo!  Boom- baby!

So that my friends is “hamburger helper not from a box” 🙂 and I plan to keep this recipe on our meal rotation in the future!

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