Family Favorites...Cheeseburger Mac

Hamburger Helper was first introduced in 1971, and was listed as number three of the top five fad foods of the 1970s.  As a young mom at the time, I certainly jumped on the bandwagon and served this packaged dish until I became more aware of the high price I was paying for a handful of dry pasta, cheese and onion powder and plenty of preservatives.
My husband and I decided we probably hadn’t eaten this dish for at least 20 years – but we enjoyed it for a change.  I didn’t have any elbow macaroni, so I substituted small shells I buy in bulk.  We used ground beef from my brother-in-law, Don, which he had processed from his homestead-raised steer.   There is almost no shrinkage from his beef – the locker plant apparently doesn’t water it down.  This is the place to use store-brand processed cheese if you have a brand you like.  The recipe says 4 to 6 servings – I would say 6 to 8 servings, unless you have several teenage boys.
Try the quick way to drain the hamburger – wipe it up with a paper towel and throw it away, instead of clogging your drains with grease.
            Cheeseburger Mac
  1        pound  ground beef
  2 3/4  cups  water
     1/3  cup  catsup
  1 or 2 tsp.  teaspoon  onion powder 
  8        ounces  elbow macaroni -- uncooked (2 cups)
  12      ounces  Velveeta -- cut up
Brown meat in large skillet; drain.
Stir in water, catsup and onion powder. Bring to a boil.  Stir in macaroni.
Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer 8-10 minutes until macaroni is tender.
Add velveeta; stir until melted. (I simply covered the skillet a minute or two, then stirred it up).
4-6 servings.
About 73¢ per serving - the same price I would have paid per serving of Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper on sale without the beef.  
  "Grandma's Sunday Suppers "


  1. I like to make my own, too... but we are also trying not to eat it as much!

  2. When I married my husband, he had a cupboard full of Hamburger, Tuna, etc., Helper. It was this same time of year for the USPS food drive, so I bagged it all up & sent it off. I explained to him that I could easily make the same basic dishes w/o all the additives & it would taste even better. I drain my ground beef on layers of paper towels on a plate & cover it w/more to soak up any grease, then wipe the pan out & toss the works so nothing goes down the drain.


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