Homemade Cheesy Italian Hamburger Helper

Tonight I was tired and overwhelmed.  Pretty much like every night!  I was going to make Leftover Turkey Pot Pie, but like I said…I was really tired.  I have found that the best way to keep my new found way of real food life going is to have a couple of staple, easy, quick dinner recipes on hand.  This is one of those.  It is so easy, kid friendly, and very forgiving: It is almost impossible to screw this one up.  I have posted it before, but I made a couple of changes to it tonight, and let me tell you…it was AMAZING.

Okay, I’m not just saying that because I’m trying to sell it to you.  Seriously…this was good stuff.  I found myself going back for seconds and then scraping the bowl and maybe trying to eat my daughters!  MMMMMMMM!

I’m not going to lie to you…I love the Italian Shells Hamburger Helper.  It is just processed deliciousness and it makes my taste buds happy, but I do not eat it anymore.  And I would NEVER feed it to my baby.  So, that being said, I have long searched for an acceptable substitution.

This is it!!!  (Cheering)  My husband said “Yeah, It’s pretty good.”  LOL, if you knew my husband-he doesn’t get excited about food like I do- and if that’s all he has to say (and not what it is lacking) then I hit the jack pot!

For my older post about why you shouldn’t eat Hamburger Helper and the other version of this recipe, click here.


Mel’s Homemade Cheesy Italian Hamburger Helper




  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  •  2 c dry pasta (I used elbows tonight, for Penne pasta add 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cans organic tomato sauce
  • 1 c organic whole milk
  • 1/2 c organic Heavy cream (This is what makes it awesome)
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c freshly shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sharp or Mild (Click here to find out why freshly shredded is important)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic (crushed or minced-I’ve also used 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brown and drain beef.
  2. Stir in all seasonings & tomato sauce.
  3. Pour in water, milk, cream & pasta.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
  5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked.
  6. Turn heat off and stir in cheese.
  7. If at this point, you want sauce thinner, add a little more milk until you get your desired consistency.  Be careful and add just a little at a time!
  8. Salt and pepper to taste



  • Add cooked peas, mushrooms, or your favorite veggie to kick it up.  I use frozen sweet peas and just add them at the end.   I usually already have some defrosted in the fridge, as my daughter eats them by the handful!  Mmmm…sorry I was having flashbacks…Dang! That dinner was SO good!
  • If you don’t do Italian (what’s wrong with you? kidding!) then just omit the Italian seasonings and add what you like!
  • I realize that there is pre-shredded cheese in my picture.  Please note that I took that picture before I read the above mentioned information!  I shred my own cheese now!

♥Happy Eating!

Author: Mo

Hi! I'm Melissa. My friends and family call me Mo. I am a wife, mother, ELA teacher and I'm all about Natural and Healthy Living!

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