This homemade version of Cheeseburger Helper is childhood comfort food at its best!
My favorite type of freezer meal EVER is the skillet freezer meal. They take minutes to prep, and taste absolutely fresh prepared when re-heated. No slow cooker, no casserole dish, no mush.
My family has a few skillet freezer meals in regular rotation, but it's this Cheeseburger Helper recipe that gets my husband and I huddle over the stove sneaking forkfuls before I put it on plates. There is just something so addicting about it.
It reminds me of watching the Wonder Years on our clunky 200 pound TV and going to bed with homework as my only responsibility. Sigh...
This recipe makes 4 servings in my estimation. Not quite enough for leftovers. If you adore leftovers, or you know your crew can eat 2 bowls...made a double batch. It doesn't take any more time and the recipe directions will be the exact same! I make a double batch every time so I can eat one/freeze one.
If you decide to try this recipe but don't want to freeze it, that's great too! After you complete step #3 , add in the pasta, stir, turn to low and simmer for 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Finish by adding the cheese stir until combined and melted. All done!
Its a proven winner in my house. Enjoy!
- 1 Lb. ground beef (I use 85%)
- 1 C. water
- 1 C. milk
- 1 Tbls. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ----Ingredients below will be used after removed from freezer when meal is ready to be served----
- 11/2 C. elbow macaroni OR wagon wheel pasta
- 1 C. shredded cheddar (don't use pre-shredded, it won't melt well)
- *additional milk if needed (sometime I add a splash to the pan if it thickens too much while cooking.)
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain if needed.
- Add water, milk, and all spice ingredients.
- Stir until well combined, let simmer about 5 minutes.
- Turn off stove, allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, ladle hamburger mixture into a large gallon freezer zip lock bag.
- Lay flat on sheet pan, remove as much air from bag as possible, and place in freezer until frozen solid. Once frozen I take back my sheet pan.
- Keep frozen until needed or up to 3 months.
- ----TO HEAT & SERVE FROM FROZEN----
- Remove zip lock bag from freezer and allow to thaw. I often place the whole zip lock bag into a large bowl and submerge it in cool water until it is thawed. This method takes about 30 minutes.
- Once mixture is thawed, transfer into a large skillet pan. Heat hamburger mixture over medium heat until it is hot and begins to bubble.
- Once bubbly add in the 1½ C. pasta to skillet.
- Stir to combine, turn heat to low, and cover pan.
- Allow to simmer about 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir frequently so it does not stick to pan.
- Add the 1 C. of cheddar. Stir to combine.
- Turn off heat and allow pasta and cheese mixture to melt together and combine for about 5 minutes.