Quick. Easy. Satisfying. That is what this meal is all about! I guess you can call me old school, but a meal is not a meal without having both a meat and a vegetable. This 12-Minute Cheesy-Hamburger Helper is just that, meat, veggies and oh, CHEESE for good measure! With just a few basic ingredients, I can get dinner on the table in 12 minutes flat! This is important because my youngest son Connor, is not patient when it comes to waiting for food, and he LOVES this simple recipe!
I grew up eating the boxed Hamburger Helper that contained loads of chemicals, carbs and wheat. In my mom’s defense, she worked full time and some nights Hamburger Helper was just the quickest and cheapest meal that she could put on the table.
When I need a quick meal, I don’t keep a box of Hamburger Helper in the pantry (now even the gluten-free kind), but I keep bags of frozen veggies and ground meat in the freezer. Really, these 2 foods have saved dinner a million times! It’s not like when you go grain-free and get rid of processed food that you can go pick up healthy fast food or have a grain-free meal delivered to your door. That would be nice but that is not reality. In order to be successful, you have to keep the right tools on hand and in this case, it is keeping a well stocked freezer.
I love fresh vegetables but I hate being limited to what is in season. I also HATE when I forget to cook something and the vegetables go bad in the fridge! Frozen vegetables seem to cook MUCH faster than fresh, especially carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and onions so I have started almost exclusively purchasing these foods frozen. I also plan on putting fresh vegetables in the freezer this year from the Farmer’s Market.
The key to a quick dinner is having food on hand and my two favorites are ground meat and tons of frozen veggies… the possibilities are endless!
Looking for more quick recipes?? Check out this post that contains One Month’s Worth of Recipes that takes less than 25 minutes to prepare!
About the Recipe
As stated in the recipe, you can use whatever ground meat you have on hand and use whatever vegetables you prefer. I like adding carrots for variety and color but you could also use cauliflower or even sweet potato. If you choose to use fresh vegetables, just know that the recipe will take longer to cook. Also, feel free to add a few more veggies to the mix, you will just need to add a bit more seasoning.
Love cheese?? Feel free to add more to Parmesan. There are a million and one variations, this is just something basic that I threw together one night and keep coming back to it!
I know many people can’t have dairy, and luckily, our family seems to tolerate it well, as long as it is a good quality. If you can’t have dairy, substitute chicken stock for the cream and omit both the cheeses. I have heard through the grapevine that nutritional yeast taste very similar to cheese but I admit, I have yet to try it. Because the spice blend is so good, this recipe will still taste delicious without the cheese but you will need to add more salt and seasonings, to your taste.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and that this 12-Minute Cheesy Hamburger Helper will save a dinner or two!
- 1-1/2 lbs. ground meat (ground beef, chicken, turkey or deer)
- 1/2 lb. sliced frozen carrots
- 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli or cauliflower
- 2/3 cup milk (or heavy cream or chicken stock)
- 2 tsp. Cajun Seasoning (to taste)
- 4-8 oz. high quality sharp cheddar cheese, cut in cubes (or shredded)
- 1/2 cup (or more) grated Parmesan cheese*
- *Omit if using 8 oz. of cheddar cheese
In a large frying pan (I use a 14 inch pan), brown ground meat over medium-high heat. This should take about 5 minutes, depending on how big your pan is. After meat has browned, drain off any excess oil and add meat back to frying pan. With pan over medium to medium-high heat, add veggies and milk or stock (be sure veggies are distributed evenly across the pan to expedite the cooking process). Sprinkle Cajun seasoning evenly over the meat and veggies and cook for 5 minutes, COVERED. After 5 minute, sprinkle cheddar cheese over the meat mixture and stir. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, or until veggies are tender and cheese has melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and taste for seasoning and salt. Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
NOTE: If using fresh vegetables, cook on a lower heat and keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the pan to ensure mixture doesn't burn.
Nutrition: 290 Calories, 14 grams of Fat, 8 grams Total Carbs, 2 grams Fiber, 6 grams Net Carbs, 33 grams Protein