Hamburger Buddy

156 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine September/October 2007

Very finely chopping onion, mushrooms and carrots in the food processor is not only fast—it makes the vegetables hard to detect for picky eaters. They also form the base for the sauce of this ground beef skillet supper. Make it a meal: Serve with a green salad.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
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  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
  • 1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or chives for garnish


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.
  2. Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 1/3 cups
  • Per serving: 204 calories; 3 g fat(2 g sat); 5 g fiber; 38 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 33 mcg folate; 9 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 3498 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 68 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 534 mg sodium; 416 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 medium-fat meats

Reviews 156

August 19, 2016
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By: jam
I love Hamburger Helper. I am practicing eating healthier and restricting calories. I was surprised at the size or the serving portion for ONLY 204 calories. I did let the sauce really thicken, so I cooked it longer. Nailed the flavor and texture of Hamburger Helper. I agree it was a little bland with the amount of Salt and Pepper called for but so long as I don't need to restrict Salt I used Salt and Pepper to taste and that was all the adjustment I made. It does look sort of beige but so does Hamburger Helper.
April 09, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Kids and husband loved it! After making some changes of my own this is in our weeknight dinner rotation. My three boys (ages 4 and under gobble it up!) I changed: -all beef broth - no water -extra noodles -I add a couple stalks of celery and sometimes a bell pepper to the food processor along with the carrots and onion -portabello mushrooms instead of regular mushrooms -less thyme + some parsley -1 cup of frozen peas cook at the end 2-3 min (very important! Otherwise it ends up just being a pile of mush!) we put sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese on at the table - that way everyone is happy with as little or as much as they want. Pros: quick, healthy, lots of veggies Cons: a little unappetizing looking
March 20, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
I made mine exactly the way the recipe calls for it, I added lots of kosher salt and pepper. I also added shredded cheese at the end. The onions and vegetables came out really nice and crisp so I don't understand how some people claimed it came out mushy and bland when I also tasted the garlic. I enjoyed it better than the boxed version and my son who's a picky eater devoured this! Pros: easy alternative to boxed hamburger helper
February 26, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Great weeknight meal My husband loves comfort food like hamburger helper, however i don't like meals out of a box so this was the perfect solution. It tasted fresh and simple and satisfied his craving. We will definitely be making this again. Pros: healthy alternative to processed food, easy to make, usually have all ingredients on hand
June 25, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Pretty good So I read a lot of the reviews and decided to adapt the recipe per the other comments. I didn't have mushrooms so I just left them out. Sauted the carrots and onions then removed them from the pan. Browned the meat and added back in the veggies. Used basil instead of the thyme and added 1/2 cup red wine. When it was done cooking I topped it with Parmesan cheese. The husband had 2 helpings so that is always a good sign. Will make again but I might leave out or reduce the Worcestershire.
April 03, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Yuck Not good at all. Too saturated, no taste. Pros: Not much Cons: everything
January 26, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Bland and mushy This was disgusting. It had no flavor at all, and while making it, it became obvious to me that the person who wrote this recipe didn't know how to cook. Following the directions leads to severely overcooking the vegetables to the point where they nearly dissolve into the sauce, and the only hint of flavor is the Worchestershire sauce, although that mostly gets lost in the mud of the rest of this recipe. Why, why, why would anyone want to copy Hamburger Helper, which is the notoriously worst food in existence? (I made this because my mother found the recipe and insisted that I cook it for her. She apologized afterward because it was such a bad recipe.) Why isn't there a terrible rating? Poor is too good for this mush. Pros: none Cons: bland and mushy
December 12, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Bland and unappealing I read the reviews and I thought that perhaps the people who gave this low reviews were following the recipe to closely or didn't have as much experience in cooking, and had difficulty improvising. Well, I am very experienced, and I was amazed at just how bland and flavorless this was - I'm not even sure where in the recipe things went awry, but I ended up adding a tablespoon of tomato paste and taco seasoning, then sprinkled some crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese on top and put it under the broiler for a minute or two. It became edible, and the family liked it OK, but it wasn't really healthy at that point. So disappointed... Pros: Quick and easy Cons: Flavorless
November 09, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
I think I know the problem... I think that part of the problem with reviews on this recipe COULD be that people (like me) was looking to this as a substitute for the way unhealthy but tasty Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper. This recipe is not that and if someone takes a bite into it expecting that, they will be disappointed. Having said that - this recipe is a nice change of pace and a good way to have comfort food with some veggies mixed in (coming from someone who is not a veggie fan). I had some big garlic cloves and it definitely had a garlic taste to it and was honestly a bit bland otherwise. I salted and peppered it and put a little bit of shredded cheddar in it and thought it tasted good. I probably won't make it much because it did seem a bit labor intensive for a weeknight meal. I'll be interested in seeing what my husband has to say about it. Pros: A healthy mac and burger recipe; good way to get veggies in Cons: a bit labor intensive for a weeknight meal