It was 6 degrees when I woke up this morning. SIX. These ridiculously frigid temperatures call for comfort food STAT and this cheeseburger pasta fits the bill. It’s not as good as eating an actual cheeseburger in paradise, but it’ll get us through.
It’s reminiscent of the pre-made boxed stuff you get at the store, you know, the one that starts with “hamburger” and ends with “helper.” But this is 1,000 times better and way more delicious! PLUS you aren’t consuming all of the sodium and preservatives that come along with the box stuff.
Growing up, my dad made 5 things: cheeseburgers, spaghetti & meatballs, sloppy joe’s, raviolis and hamburger helper. Oh, and he was also an expert at ordering pizza and even had our local pizza shop on speed dial. So that makes 6 things we ate over & OVER again. It’s safe to say he wasn’t too adventurous when it came to food. To paint you a picture, he only had his first taco/Mexican food experience when I forced him to have a chalupa one afternoon when I was in high school. He was in his fifties at that point and had some how managed to get through life without ever having had a burrito, a taco or an enchilada.
All that being said, I was comforting to know that every Friday when I got to his house, one of the above mentioned dishes would be made that night for dinner. Hamburger Helper is one of those nostalgic childhood foods for me so making this was comforting and almost therapeutic. When I miss my dad, I get though it by doing something he would have loved, be it making one of “his dishes”, taking a walk by the water or watching one of our favorite movies like Dead Poets Society or Cool Hand Luke.
To make this extra cheeseburger-y and as a way of making the recipe a little less terrible for you, I used ground turkey and low-sodium beef broth. The secret ingredient that makes this taste extra “beefy” without actually containing beef is the Worcestershire sauce.
Look at those pools of cheese, oh my gosh. Make this now!
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 16 oz shell pasta
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup milk
- green onion, sliced, to serve
- In a large pot over a medium heat, add ground beef, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Break up the beef to incorporate the seasonings and cook until browned.
- Pour in the beef broth and bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked throughout and the broth has cooked down.
- Pour in the milk and cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.
- Serve garnished with some sliced green onions