Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells

If someone had told me that my 400th posting would have been how to make a Hamburger Helper Style meal without a box, I would have laughed. No way – I would have something sensational, something so awe-inspiring, it will knock your socks off. Yet, here it is. I will admit, I stressed about the 400th posting – and then I realized 400 is just a number. The point of my little blog isn’t about numbers, it’s about enjoying my life, my family, and puttering about in my cozy little kitchen. Simple pleasures and the sound of my guys laughing together – that’s what matters.

This is now my third “installment” of Hamburger Helper meals without using an actual box of “Hamburger Helper”. Yep, the easy, busy mom’s best friend, only without all the stuff no one wants to eat in the first place. Have you ever read a box of Hamburger Helper ingredients? Half of the ingredients are words I cannot even begin to pronounce – but have no fear – all those yellow and red dyes and words that seem to be a bunch of letters strung together have all been deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA – so no worries. Right? What’s that – you aren’t impressed? Neither am I.  Especially when you consider how absolutely easy it is to skip the box and still have all the convenience of a quick, easy weeknight meal. Add a fresh salad, some warm bread and tall glasses of ice-cold milk – what more do you need? Oh, and just like the boxed variety – one pan will do the trick. Unlike the box variety – this dish has chunks of tomatoes you can actually see.

Hamburger Helper - Italian Pasta Shells (2)

I adore suppers that only need a tossed salad and warm bread for the finishing touches – especially the bread part. Bread has to be my greatest weakness. I could easily sit down with a loaf of fresh baked bread and sweet butter and call it a day. Happy, content. Okay, maybe a glass or two of a full-bodied red wine to go with the bread. Yeah, bread and wine – reminds me of a prior life – before Hubby. Sitting ’round a campfire on a beach in San Francisco, dining on warm, fresh baked San Francisco Sourdough slathered in butter and drinking cheap wine from a Bota bag. And cheese. Yeah, bread, wine and cheese . . . oh, but I digress. We’re here to talk about Hamburger Helper-Style suppers.

Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells
Ingredients – Cheesy Italian Shells:
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (Ground Turkey is fine, too)
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 ¼ Cups HOT water
½ Cup Milk
1 Can (14 oz) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
2 Cups Medium Shell Pasta
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients – Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic together. Drain well.

Add water, milk, tomatoes and pasta. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package (everything else but the cheese). Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.

Stir in the Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

That’s it – dinner is served.

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Need more Hamburg Helper style meals? Feel free to follow the links below:

Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Marconi

Stroganoff Helper without the Box

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