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Healthier Hamburger Helper

Makes 8 to 10 Servings

Hamburger Helper doesn't have the healthiest reputation, but with the addition of spinach and whole grain egg noodles ups the ante on good nutrition.

healthier hamburger helper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1½ cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground beef (93 or 95% lean)

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 32 -ounce carton all-natural chicken broth

One 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 cup 1% low-fat milk, divided

One 10-ounce box chopped frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

One 12-once bag dried whole grain, wide egg noodles (we used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.

  2. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the meat, Italian seasoning, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and cook, breaking up the large pieces until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat.

  3. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, 3/4 cup of the milk, and the spinach, cover, and bring to a boil.

  4. Stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 9 minutes.

  5. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk until well combined. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pasta. Maintain at a low boil and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

  6. Top individual servings with additional Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and chopped basil as desired.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 generous cup):

290 calories, 8g fat (2.5g saturated), 38g carbohydrate, 400mg sodium, 6g fiber, 20g protein, 80% vitamin A, 15% calcium, 20% iron

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