So this month is going to be all about preparing things and getting ahead. In the midst of the canning season it’s easy to be in a preparedness mood. I don’t know about you but I like having all kinds of foods on hand to be able to prepare a quick supper! In addition to canning I’m all about making mixes to have on my pantry shelf. Those boxed mixes from the store are so handy but completely scary and even though they seem like a good, are actually costing you more than you think. So for the next month here on LHL you’ll find some new canning recipes, but we are also going to focus on building our pantry with easy mixes. I’ll also do cost comparisons on various products from the store and how much the homemade version costs.
We are going to kick it off with Hamburger Helper. How many of you grabbed a box of Hamburger Helper at the grocery store when you were in a panic of not knowing what to make for supper? I know that I have in the past. First let’s take a peek at what exactly is in the fancy box:
Enriched Pasta (Whole Wheat Flour, Semolina Wheat, Durum Wheat, Vitamin D, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (B Vitamin)), Whey, Salt, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Corn, Soy, Wheat, Calcium Carbonate, Artificial Color, Sugar, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, Calcium Lactate, Natural Flavor, Nonfat Milk, Onion Powder, Dried Parsley, Mushroom Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Spice, Beef Stock, Mushrooms, Dried Corn Syrup, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Lactose, Garlic Powder, Dried Soy Sauce (Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Egg
Oh my goodness. Artificial colors and flavors. Hydrogenated oils, MSG (Autolyzed Yeast Extract), corn syrup. Do I really need to go on?
The regular price of this in my local grocery store is $2.29 per box. I know it goes on sale for around $2 per box so we will work off that price.
Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper Mix
What You Need:
- 1 t. cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or flour
- 2 t. paprika
- 1 t. onion powder
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
Mix ingredients together in a bag or jar. When we are ready to make, brown up 1 pound of hamburger. Add in the mix and 1 c. water and 2 c. of milk. Cover the skillet and let the pasta cook. Stir in 1 c. of shredded cheddar cheese before serving. That’s it!
These mixes are super easy to put together, less than 5 minutes of prep time!
The spices in this mix are in such small amounts they really only cost pennies but for the sake of adding it up we will say $0.25 for all the spices. A bag of elbow pasta costs around $1, a little bit more if you decide to do whole wheat. One bag will make 2 mixes. So we are at a total of $1.50 for 2 mixes (each mix serves 4) or $0.75 each. That’s 33% of the cost of the on sale box of Hamburger Helper from the store.
Of course the boxed version has that good old dried cheese already in it and you will have to go through the trouble and cost of adding fresh cheese to your homemade version but I’m thinking that might be a plus??
Looking for more mixes that you can make quickly and easily? My book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self Sufficient Life has over 130 recipes just like this one!
What mix do you want to see me make next?