Hamburger Buddy ~ Rachel

Biz over at My Bizzy Kitchen asked her readers for their favorite lightened up recipes. Well, someone posted a recipe from Eating Well Magazine for Hamburger Buddy…a lightened up version of Hamburger Helper. I decided to make this dish last night. As I was cooking, Dave was exclaiming “Dinner smells awesome” which is always a good sign.

This dish really WAS awesome! A few things to note:

(1) I don’t have a food processor so I used my immersion blender for the mushrooms and carrots (no onions). The mushrooms got pureed and the carrots remained mostly intact. The whole mixture ended up looking like smashed ground meat. It did not look appetizing AT ALL but I knew it would taste great.

(2) You’ll need more salt and may need to dial back on the thyme. I want to figure out a different herb combination to try next time…maybe oregano.

(3) The recipe calls for sour cream, mostly to make it creamy. Dave decided to add some reduced fat shredded cheese to his and thought it was exactly what the dish was missing. I’m thinking next time, I might skip the sour cream and used reduced fat/light Velveeta (yeah, I know it’s not real food but I can live with it sometimes). I might also try using the 75% reduced fat Cabot cheddar and see what happens.

(4) I didn’t have chives to add to it but I bet they are a great addition. Some green onions might be nice too.

So without further adieu, I give you what was perhaps the nastiest looking meal I’ve ever made (it does not look like the picture) but also one of the tastiest!

Oh, I should also mention that a serving, about 1 and 1/3 cups, is enormous and is only 8pts!!


6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each


  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
  • 1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or chives for garnish


  1. Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.
  2. Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.


Per serving: 326 calories; 10 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 431 mg sodium; 644 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (70% daily value), Zinc (33% dv), Iron (20% dv), Potassium (18% dv).

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 medium-fat meats

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  • Desiree  On January 22, 2011 at 3:23 am

    This does sound pretty good. When I was trying to eat a lot of raw food, one of the best things I discovered was carrot pulp “tuna.” It was made from the left over pulp after you put carrots through the juicer – you can do some amazing things with deformed veggies.

  • biz319  On January 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    That looks delicious Rachel! I saw that in my Eating Well magazine but hadn’t gotten to it yet. 😀

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