Dorm Room Dining

Sam Segal

Chief Photographer

I never had Hamburger Helper as a kid. My mom said it tasted like cardboard and powdered cheese–nothing her three children would ever eat . . . and then I lived with my friend Tim Hoy.

Tim’s in love with this stuff and he has, unhealthily, fueled my love for it as well. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s delicious.

It’s horrible for you.

This week I decided to take on this delicious meal in a little healthier light.

Photo by Sam Segal

Photo by Sam Segal

Microwave Hamburger Helper

  • 1/2 box of short pasta (ziti, rotini or macaroni are good choices)
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can sweet peas

First, put the ground beef into a large microwave safe dish and break it up into pieces so it will cook faster. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. If it is not cooked entirely after 10 minutes, add a minute at a time until cooked

Add the cheese, milk, cornstarch, chili powder and salt to the cooked meat. Partially cover and return to microwave for at least 20 minutes, adding time after in 2 minute intervals. Stir in peas and let cool.

Get a plate and dig in! The sweetness of the peas compliments the salt added and I tend to add a little bit of hot sauce to satisfy the palette.

Also, if you’re not a fan of red meat, tuna can easily be substituted and takes less time!