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Creative ways to use for Hamburger Helper that taste better?

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Somewhere along the way I ended up with several boxes of Hamburger helper in my pantry. When I was younger I used to enjoy them, but now that I'm older and a bit snobbier in my tastes I just can't do it. I don't want to waste it, but any time my husband suggests we make it for dinner to use it up I can't help but wrinkle my nose. I can always think of a more favorable dish to make instead.

So what I'm looking for are creative ways to use my Hamburger Helper without preparing it the conventional way? Something that will add more "Real" flavor and not just the weak, processed taste. I don't mind splitting up the noodles and the spices, I'm not too picky about healthiness (If I need to make something with loads of butter, I'll do it) I just want to make use of these few boxes I have!

Here are the flavors sitting on my shelf:
Cheesy Italian Shells
Four Cheese Lasagna
Double Cheeseburger Macaroni

Any ideas are appreciated!

Thank you :)

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  1. Donate the boxes in the 'food pantry' container at your local store, and make a pasta and burger dish from scratch! :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: gingershelley

      I had considered that! Especially with Christmas coming up and food drives popping up in several places. I always forget that I have it until I'm looking for room on my pantry shelves :) But now that it's on my mind I'll have to remember that...

      1. re: silverdoves

        This time of year I keep a cardboard box in the kitchen. When I come across something in the pantry that I believe should be donated I put it in the box then and there. That way the donation box is packed and ready to go when the kid comes home from school with the food drive flyer or like today when a local TV station is doing drive-through donations at area supermarkets.

    2. Donate them.

      You cannot improve it. It is just nasty processed salt flavor.

      1. Make savory waffles.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Your answer intrigues me, Ips. How would you make the savory waffles? Is the Hamburger Helper the topping? or is it used in the waffles?

        2. What I would do is separate the spices from the pasta. Make your hamburger into your favorite meatball recipe, cook and set aside. Cook up the pasta, drain, and add a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, and passata (or blended diced tomatoes) with some basil/oregano/rosemary seasonings plus salt and pepper of course and set aside. Take the mix/spices that you've set aside. Add them to 2 cups of hot water. Stir well. Set aside. Plate the pasta/tomatoes, top with the meatballs. Top with grated reggiano. Then carefully take the prepared spice mix and pour it down the drain. Enjoy!

          1. Doctor them up with chopped onion, mushrooms, whatever veg is on hand. Add some better cheese and spices.

            But the food pantry is a great idea if you're on the fence about using these. Just put them in your car trunk so that next time you're at a market where they are collecting, you're ready.

            1. pick or combine options:

              use well-seasoned sausage (cooked and drained) in lieu of hamburger.

              add pureed piquillo peppers or some slices of pimento or roasted red peppers

              add sauteed mushrooms

              add smoked paprika

              add black olives, or better, split kalamatas

              dice in some cherry tomatoes, or use some pico de gallo.

              use some pickled banana pepper slices or the pickled cherry peppers (be creful, the hot ones are very hot).

              add a dash of worcestershire

              top with freshly snipped italian parsley or use good quality dried oregano (rubbed between your fingers to break up) into the sauce

              add some thinly sliced garlic or roasted garlic

              ~~~~~
              cooks illustrated on tv had a show on one skillet pasta meals, and they might have some seasoning ideas for you to explore. maybe also "everyday food."

              1. Hamburger helper has some pretty good ideas. One of my favorites is peppers stuffed lasagna. Also the cheesy Italian shells is good with mixed veggies mixed in

                1. I agree. Donate it to a shelter for someone who needs it....and will enjoy it.

                  1. i add pepperoni, Italian spices, garlic powder, a lil sausage, and top with mozzarella, then its tolerable and fast!